Many of us in April were looking back at last year’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida, recalling some of our favorite memories and imagining what the next Celebration would look like. On May 16, The Star Wars Show finally broke the news and announced that next year’s Star Wars Celebration is coming to Chicago, Illinois.
I’ve never been to Chicago, and I have to admit that most of my knowledge of the Windy City comes from NBC’s Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, and Chicago Med. If you’re in the same boat as I am, then here are some basic facts about Chicago that all Star Wars fans should know before departing for the festivities next year:
- Chicago has a population of about 2.705 million people. For comparison, New York City has a population of 8.538 million.
- Chicago falls under the Central Time Zone (CST), but if you see CDT in any Celebration updates or announcements, that means Central Daylight Time. As a reminder, daylight savings time started on March 11, 2018, and it will end on November 4, 2018. Chicago is one hour behind New York and two hours ahead of Los Angeles, but if you need to quickly look up the time, just Google “what time is it in Chicago” and the search engine will provide you with an accurate time.
- The average temperature in April is 56° (high) and 43° (low).
- There are two major airports: O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW).
- McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America, and it’s located near Lake Michigan. The convention center also has detailed directions and information regarding how to get there. (C2E2 also provides instructions on how to get to the convention center.)
For those not familiar, McCormick Place is also the home of ReedPOP’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), the same company that runs Star Wars Celebration and New York Comic Con (NYCC). In 2017, C2E2 had about 80,000 in attendance. That’s a lot of fans, but not as much as NYCC, which had about 180,000 in a considerably smaller space. Celebration Orlando had more than 70,000 in attendance, according to StarWars.com. Regardless, whether it’s 80,000 or 180,000, Celebration Chicago might be the biggest Celebration yet.
Given the fact that both conventions share the same space, C2E2 has additional information on their website that will most likely apply to Celebration Chicago:
- Due to fire code, and the short breaks between programming, C2E2 does not clear rooms between sessions. You are allowed to stay in the same room for multiple sessions. Because C2E2 does not clear rooms, we suggest you plan accordingly and arrive early to the panels you’d like to see.
- Due to supply and demand and the limited number of seats available, unfortunately not everyone will get to see all the panels. That’s why C2E2 is also live-streaming panels so you can still take part in the fun! Check back before the show for exact room locations that will be hosting live streaming.
- We are offering high speed Wi-Fi for all those at C2E2. To connect, choose the SSID: C2E22018. There is no peer-to-peer communication. Every device will each connect at speeds more than 10 Mbps.
As for attending major panels, it looks like a tap-in system was implemented for certain panels at this year’s C2E2, while other Main Stage panels were first-come first-served. The tap-in method was used at NYCC 2017 for all Main Stage panels. ReedPOP used this system because the badges came with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips for added security and tracking. In my opinion, Celebration Chicago would benefit greatly from the tap-in method. From my personal experience at last year’s NYCC, I thought it was a smooth and seamless process. It also helped prevent line jumpers. There’s no word yet what method Celebration Chicago will implement, but keep a close eye on the official website for more information in the near future.
Something else that has been on the minds of fans? Queuing. While I personally didn’t experience any big issues with queuing at Celebration Orlando, some fans had the opposite experience.
Here was the queue setup for C2E2 2018:
- Queuing to get onto the Show Floor and into Panel Rooms will begin at 8:00 AM each day of the show. The Queue Hall is located in the North Hall. We have moved the Queue Hall location due to enhanced security and increased space.
- Due to popular demand, in order to attend and reserve your seat for the C2E2’s “Crown Championships of Cosplay,” presented by SINGER, you will be required to scan your badge on Saturday morning of C2E2. Please note, all other C2E2 Main Stage panels will be first-come first-served and will not require you to scan your badge. Badge scanning will be first-come, first-serve basis, beginning at 8:00 AM on Saturday, April 7 in the back of the Queue Hall in the North Hall.
- Other panels happening on the Main Stage and in other panel rooms will not be cleared. This means you can sit in the panel room all day long and see whatever is happening in that room!
That said, Star Wars fans as a group are a different beast, so I imagine the instructions for queuing and panel clearing will be handled differently, but at least we now have a better idea of how C2E2 was handled at the same convention center.
Fans looking to attend next year’s Celebration will have the opportunity to purchase badges on Tuesday, June 5, at 12pm CDT (1pm EDT/EST).
What’s also most impressive? Celebration Chicago will be 5 days long. 5 days filled with non-stop Star Wars content? Sign me up!
As always, I’m looking forward to any Star Wars animation panels, especially those that have Dave Filoni. There’s no doubt in my mind that Star Wars Resistance will have a panel and that there will be other panels looking back at the past animated content.
Are you planning to attend SWCC? Let us know in the comments section below.
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