Posted by D. Martin on September 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM CST
My Celebration experience was quite a bit different than in years past for many reasons. I certainly had a lot more going on than ever before as I was busy working all 34 hours of the convention. This kept me on my feet starting Wednesday morning before the show began as we set up, a couple of hours after the show closed each night and well after the show ended on Sunday evening as we packed everything back up. As much as it seemed like CV would never get here, it quickly came and went. Perhaps next time, instead of a 50 day countdown, I'll do a 200 day countdown (ha!).

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I had a very large and very awesome hotel room that I spent about 2% of my time in. The bed was comfy for what little bit of sleep I was able to get. My original plan was to check the email once in the morning and once at night. That happened for one day and that was it! Eating dinner at 10:00pm and getting up at 6:00am just didn't allow much time to do anything outside of the convention center.

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I coordinated and managed the Official Pix Autograph Send-in and Drop-off Service for the show. I began receiving items from all over the world about two months before CV which included trading cards, action figures, photographs, posters, books and much, much more! A large amount of time and effort was put into organizing everything to streamline what had to be done at the show. Living only an 1.5 hours away was a big bonus which allowed me to transport everything over with ease. I had an awesome team of seven people working full time behind the curtains at the Official Pix booth. Each day, fans would drop off their personal items to be signed by attending guests. During the four days of the convention, I had the pleasure of doing private signings with both Mark Hamill & Carrie Fisher on two separate occasions as well as Anthony Daniels, Ben Burtt, Jon Berg, John Morton, Alan Harris, Warwick Davis, Gary Kurtz and Matthew Wood. In addition to that, we continuously ran items out to all the other guests each day. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Thanks to the dedication of the team, we got everything done.

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One of the biggest highlights for me was a private tour of the Art of Ralph McQuarrie exhibit up on the third floor during setup on Wednesday afternoon. Seeing all that original artwork from Ralph was simply stunning. A huge thanks to John, Stan, Paul & Athena for that! Of course, I didn't have my camera with me at the time, but the exclusive guide was a nice souvenir to take home as a remembrance of it all. I also picked up a set of the twelve 10x20 metallix photos all signed by Ralph. I can't wait to sit down and really look at the set in detail.

After a busy first day of the show, we made our way over to the TFN/Fan Force party at the Wyndham Hotel sponsored by Official Pix. The food was fantastic and very filling! I made some new friends and ran into a lot of old friends I hadn't seen in a while so it was great to catch up. Courtney, my girlfriend, was on a mission to find Seth Green in order to give him his official badge to wear at the show. We were successful in finding him, so she got a quick photo and presented him with the badge. We stayed around a while longer chatting with the cast of The Clone Wars and then called it a night.

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As with any Celebration, there are always must have exclusives and this one was absolutely no exception. Pictured below is my plaque from the CV exclusive eFX Luke Skywalker TESB X-wing Pilot Helmet. Notice the edition number? I have to thank my team mate and friend, 'Jovial' Jay Shepard for helping me out with some of the items I was after too! I would have never been able to get all of them had it not been for his offer to help.

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I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mr. Lucas back in May of this year at the Field Museum in Chicago for a charity event. Little did I know that just three short months later, I would be face to face with him again! I snapped a few photos as he walked through the fan table area on Friday morning. He seemed to be enjoying himself as he toured the show floor.

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Another part of my Celebration was helping to organize the Star Wars Grand Florida Alliance fan booth. I co-founded this group with Campbell Evans, president of The Orlando System, and this was our first attempt at having our own spot on the show floor. Richard Sledziewski, president of The Treasure Coast Star Wars Club was also instrumental in making sure everything came together including lining up our volunteers. Our booth featured the walls from the Rebel base on Hoth as seen in The Empire Strikes Back. This incredible work of art was done exclusively by one of our own members, Justin Slade. Our primary goals for setting up the booth were to spread the word about our group and to hand out our portion of the CV exclusive 5-piece Boba Fett patch. We succeeded at both as the patch went over extremely well and we had nearly 300 new people sign up to join the mailing list! I foresee a packed house at our next event here in Florida - details forthcoming!

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My job continued well after the show as I spent the last two weeks packing up all the items that fans sent in for the autograph service we provided. It was a LOT of hard work, but honestly...I can't wait to do it all over again! Even though I was super busy working the entire show and I didn't get to see and experience much of what was offered at CV, I still had a blast. Lucasfilm and Reed both deserve high praises for their efforts in putting on what was by far the best Celebration to date. The location was perfect with plenty of space for everything and everyone, there were tons of great guests, tons of hotels, tons of restaurants and tons of friends. What more could you ask for?

One final thing that I was very thankful for was the opportunity to hang out with my team mates. We really don't get to see each other very often as we all live in different places around the world and most of our conversations take place online throughout the year. Having everyone in the same place at the same time was a lot of fun and we all owe this fantastic experience to Philip Wise.

Hope to see everyone at Star Wars Fan Days IV next year in Plano, TX while we await the announcement of Celebration VI (hopefully in Orlando)!
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