Here’s some of the highlights of Star Wars Celebration Europe for me. I worked the convention as part of the crew at the Celebration stage in the Grugahalle, which was a giant concert hall next door to the main convention halls, so most of my memories involve being at the Celebration stage, but really it’s all about the people that one encounters at a Star Wars convention – we’re all here because of one thing: we love Star Wars!
As a member of the stage crew, our main job was to make sure the programmed activities went off without a hitch and our main roles were escorting the talent (usually from/to the Autograph Hall via cart), setting the stage for each show, and helping our fellow fans: passing out freebies given out at panels, providing assistance to fans with disabilities.
So, some of my favorite Celebration memories:
Working with Warwick Davis: Mr. Davis was a fantastic host for the Celebration stage, and poured a lot of work into preparing for every show. Usually, we would have a bit of time to rehearse for a show, and I got to assist a few times: filling in for Ian McDiarmid meant answering some Star Wars trivia questions while on the couch, then practicing a lightsaber duel with Mr. Davis on stage for re-creating the Yoda/Sidious battle in Revenge of the Sith. Though, in the real show, Ian McDiarmid outdid me by doing back somersaults on stage when Yoda Force-pushed him back to his chair. Then, while figuring out how the Fett-astic Four panel activities would work, Mr. Davis used me as a target for his Nerf blaster range testing. Yes, Wicket the Ewok was shooting me with nerf guns on stage in Germany.
Seeing friends and fans: To me, a convention is about the people. I was really lucky to see so many old friends, and meet so many new ones! A special bonus was the chance to bring some close friends who used to live in San Diego and now live in Germany to the convention for their first Celebration. While I didn’t get to spend much time with them, I had a fantastic time watching Return of the Jedi in Grugapark with them… and several thousand other fans. As you know, Jedi is my favorite Star Wars film, and getting to see it again, with some kids who are like family to me, was really special. I also got to catch up with so many pals from all over – Mark and the gang from Jedi News UK, Aaron and others from Star Wars Union, Johanna from Fan Force Sweden, Pavel of Czech Star Wars Universe (and trivia contest champion), and even meet some Club Jade readers – I went to take a photo of a fan in her steampunk Rebel pilot dress, and wouldn’t you know? She’s a reader from Scotland!
Meeting and working with such wonderful people: not only was working with Warwick Davis a great experience, we had so many other great people on the Celebration stage – the rest of the Elite Squad (lead Christine, Sam, and Nadine) but also DJ Elliot and Mark Daniel, who helped entertain and warm up the crowds before each show, and show producer Oliver, and Dan, an R2 builder who operated R4-CE2 on stage, and the sound/video/lights crew. Plus a number of great people from Reed and Lucasfilm, especially when the Costume Contest was on stage (and Dave Filoni said “Nice hat!” to me in the hall).
I had such a great time doing things such as driving Femi Taylor, Tim Rose and Gerald Home around in the electric cart on the bike lane, or chatting with John Morton and Daniel Logan backstage, or trying to avoid getting hit by cyclists with DJ Elliot and Mark Daniel on the Rüttenscheider Straße, or running into Ashley and David Eckstein on the U-bahn, or getting recognized in the halls as “Hat Guy” or “Waiter Guy” from being a stage ninja, or spending every night out with Trina, Nadine and Sam. You guys are awesome!
And I leave you with this: the crowds in the Celebration stage worshiping Anthony Daniels like some sort of god (courtesy of Nadine).