9 Tips for First-Time Celebration Attendees

I was recently asked on Instagram if I have any tips for first-time Star Wars Celebration attendees and rather than answer them in short form over there, I decided to share my top nine tips over here! I've been lucky enough to attend four Star Wars Celebrations since 2012 and feel like I've had enough experience to share tidbits of information that might be helpful if you're going to Star Wars Celebration Chicago in April.



There Will be Lines for Everything

First off, there will be lines for everything you do at Star Wars Celebration. From going to a headlining Episode IX panel to just taking a break for the restroom, you will be waiting in lines no matter how early you arrive. All of the Celebrations I've attended since 2012 have slowly gotten worse in attendance size and line length. I remember going to the Season 5 premiere of The Clone Wars back at Celebration VI in Orlando and only waited a few hours to get in the premiere theater. However, just a few years later, I ended up waiting overnight in line to see The Force Awakens panel at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. Star Wars Celebration has briefly mentioned on their social media accounts that they will have a new "technology" for the line system in Chicago, but we have yet to see what that system will be and if it will turn out successful. I will say that every single time I've waited in a long line at the convention, the payoff has been totally worth the wait, so don't stress too much.

If you're not fond of waiting in lines, there is a plus side to the tiresome waits. I've met so many of my best friends in past years just from sitting next to someone in a queue line for multiple hours. Strike up a conversation with your neighbor and it'll help the time fly by!



Pack Smart

I've mentioned this before in a video, but you'll want to pack smart for the convention. The most important item that I recommend bringing is a solid backpack. I really like my Boba Fett laptop backpack (R2-D2 version is pictured below) because it has tons of front pockets, inside pockets, and straps on the side that are perfect for holding the next most important item you'll need- a poster tube. If you're an avid art collector or love to grab the free posters offered at select panels, you'll want to keep those items safe in a poster tube. I also highly recommend bringing some snacks to hold you over because nobody likes a hangry Star Wars fan sitting next to them. Trail mix, fruit chews, and Pop-tarts are some of my favorite convention snacks to hold me over and that will also satisfy my sweet tooth.

Most US based convention centers have lots of water fountains scattered around the venue, so packing a leak-proof water bottle is a great idea too. Lastly, I always pack a small cardigan or hoodie in my backpack because I tend to get cold in the convention center, especially if I'm standing still in a line. Also don't forget to bring your rechargeable phone battery pack, extra camera batteries, or plenty of cash for all the cool merch you'll want to buy in the exhibit hall.



Cosplayers Gather in Specific Areas

If you're planning on cosplaying at Star Wars Celebration or just want to find cosplayers to photograph, I highly recommend staying in the lobby area of the convention center. Most cosplayers tend to avoid the exhibit hall if they're in costume because it gets pretty cramped in there. If someone is wearing a helmet with limited vision or a costume that is fragile, they'll most likely be taking pictures in the spacious lobby of the convention rather than the exhibit hall. There's also usually much better lighting for photographs in the lobby.

Also, don't be afraid to ask cosplayers to take a photo with you! That's what they love doing. Just be sure to ask for permission before touching anything on their costume- you never know how fragile it could be and you don't want to ruin their hard work or make them uncomfortable.

Bring Swag if You Can

Star Wars fans are notorious for trading swag at Star Wars Celebration. This includes pins, patches, buttons, trading cards and more. If you have any sort of small swag items to bring, you may get some cool items in return from a trade! I always make special stickers and buttons with The Dorky Diva logo on them to give out at Celebration. This isn't an essential part of the Celebration experience, but if you're a cosplayer, blogger, or podcaster, you might have a fun time handing out some of your personal swag at the convention. You can see how full my lanyard is with buttons from friends in the photo below.



Wear Comfortable Shoes

This sounds like a no brainer, but I honestly can't tell you how many times I've seen people wear uncomfortable clothing to Celebration. Ladies, I know it's super fun to dress up for the convention and wear a cool pair of heels with your Star Wars outfit, but bring a change of flats in your bag if you can. I try to wear comfortable sneakers with gel insoles to the convention because most of your time will be spent standing up or walking around. The concrete flooring of most convention centers will not be kind to your feet and back after walking around on it for multiple days.



Be Polite to Staff Members

Most of the staff members at Star Wars Celebration are volunteers who are lending a hand to the event without getting paid. If you approach a staff member and ask them a question that they are unable to answer, don't get frustrated with them. They might not know the answer to every single question and that's okay! Be polite and understand that if they are asking you to move out of a reserved seat or step aside to keep an entrance clear, just know that they are doing their job and not personally attacking you. These events wouldn't be possible without their help, so be grateful for their hard work and helpfulness!

You'll Need Special Tickets to Meet Guests

Celebration always has an awesome line-up of actors and actresses, authors, voice talent, and behind-the-scenes performers that bring Star Wars to life to sign autographs and take photos with guests during the convention. Before heading to Celebration, take a look at the guest list online and see who you would like to meet. Sometimes certain guests are only there for 1-2 days of the convention while others may be there for the entire event. Meeting these guests is not included with the purchase of your convention pass, so you will need to buy autograph/photo-op tickets in advance online or at the show. Price varies per guest, so do your research ahead of time!

The Party Doesn't Stop

If you miraculously still have energy after convention hours, there's most likely still social events happening around the convention center. Most hotel lobbies nearby will be full of Star Wars fans grabbing drinks or dinner together and some fan clubs organize meetups or swag-trade events after convention hours. This is a really great time to catch up with friends and mingle with people if you happened to miss them at the convention earlier in the day.

HAVE FUN

This one sounds simple, but it's a big tip! Sometimes Celebration might not always go as you've planned. Lines may take longer than expected or you might miss a panel that you were dying to see, but the most important part is to go with the flow and enjoy your time there. Star Wars Celebration is such an amazing event full of joy and opportunities to make new friends, so be social and chat with fellow fans around you. You never know what you'll see at the convention and I promise there will be some really great surprises along the way.


I can't wait to attend Celebration Chicago in April and hope to see you there. If you're a long time Celebration attendee, what tips or advice do you have for newcomers? Leave your advice in the comments below!

Comments