Reminiscing about the First Star Wars Celebration

With Star War Celebration coming up this week in Chicago, I wanted to reminisce about going to the first Star Wars Celebration in Denver April 30 – May 2, 1999 with an old friend of mine, Sean. This was the first time I ever took a trip on my own and I was excited to attend this first event that was everything Star Wars. 

I ended up planning the trip for my friend and myself. I rented a hotel room about a mile from the location, which was at the Wing Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, and we were able to share a taxi to and from the event with fellow event-goers.

When we arrived at the event there was a long line. I’m talking super-long just to enter the main exhibit hall. This was the first of many long lines that we had to endure throughout the weekend. Not only did we have to wait in long lines, but it was also raining for most of the weekend. 
While this event did happen about 20 years ago there are some things I remember and some I do not. Here is a quick recap of what I remember.

Nerds Rule!
Before the first panel even started it felt like we were sitting forever waiting for it to start. I think they were waiting for the chairs to fill up or might have been having technical issues due to the rain, but I remember someone yelling out “The first transport is away!” and the entire room cheered out loud.

Running Into Stars
Being that this was the first one of its kind, there were some celebrities walking around in the crowd. There was one moment when I was walking in the main tent and accidentally bumped into a man wearing a baseball cap. I turned to him to say “I’m sorry” and my eyes got wide for a moment. He noticed that I recognized him and placed his finger near his mouth mimicking saying “Shh!”. That man was Alice Cooper.

The Celebration was cool because the talent that was there was more accessible to the fans. The main stage was pretty low and after the panels ended you could easily walk up to them and get an autograph and picture with them. I got few photos and autographs, but one that I thought was pretty cool was Phantom Menace Producer Rick McCallum signing the back of my three-day pass.

Meeting The World
We all know that love for Star Wars is universal and there was no place that proved that than that weekend in Denver. We met people from Spain, Australia, England, and different parts of the U.S. All of us that were there came from different backgrounds, but we all had the same amount of love for Star Wars. It was such a great weekend and I’m glad that this event, even though it was a little rough, has blossomed into the incredible event that it is every year.

Helping Others
The Star Wars Celebration took place 10 days after the Columbine Massacre. There was a somber mood over the event. Throughout the showroom floor, there were boxes for people to make donations to the victims of this horrible event. Every day I noticed that those boxes were always full of money. Walking by and noticing them full every day was pretty awesome. While we were there to escape to a universe far, far away, we made sure to take care of those in our universe.

Star Wars Celebration was a great experience and helped rekindle that love of Star Wars that many of us had. It was incredible to see so many fans together and for everyone to be excited about the upcoming chapter of the Star Wars saga. At the end of the event, I did not want to leave. I wanted to stay there and keep enjoying everything Star Wars with my new friends. I knew that there would be more chapters coming soon and I could not wait to attend the next celebration.

Later that month, my friends and I were in line for hours on opening night for Phantom Menace and it was breathtaking to see those familiar words flash across the screen again. I think standing in the long lines in Denver helped my friend Sean and I prepare for the long lines in attending all the prequels and re-releases of the Star Wars Trilogy.

Were you at the Star Wars Celebration in Denver? If yes, share with us a memory in the comments below.

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