Star Wars Celebration is this week, which means that it’s time to wrap up your costumes, put your check lists together, and get your bags packed for your journey. So often, in the haze of our excitement, we forget some of the most vital items when it comes to having a stress-free convention experience. The show is known for its unpredictable reveals, hilarious celebrity reactions, and its immersive, exclusive look at the long history of Star Wars — basically, no matter how much you prepare, something will always catch you off guard. But in a good way! To ease your mind and keep important things at the forefront of it, I’ve put together a quick list based on my past experience at Celebration. Beyond the lightsabers, Yoda dolls, and now-iconic Rey quarterstaffs, there are a few things that will help you enjoy Celebration even more.
1. Poster Tubes
Licensed poster vendors, incredible fan artists, and exclusive free posters are all common gems you’ll find across the Celebration floor. With that in mind, it’s important to bring an easy, non-crushable way to carry all of your acquisitions, and a sturdy poster tube often does the trick. Without bending your posters, the tubes offer an extra guard in the form of often plastic protection, and while they’re often available in hobby shops and other stores, there’s a chance that you’ll find a few vendors with them available on the show floor. Poster tubes are also a really great way to store autographs from the cast, and they take the stress out of packing your bag just the right way for any long trips back home.
Always, always, always keep water on you. Refillable bottles come in all shapes and forms, so find one that works best with the way you plan to travel through the con. Crowds at Celebration can get heavy, and while scouring the treasures of the dealer’s hall, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget to drink any water. Check out the map of the convention center for water fountain locations, and treat yourself to a swig or two every once in awhile to keep yourself in top form.
3. Tote Bag
Many people prefer to use large purses or backpacks, but I find that a simple square tote bag (I prefer one that’s 15 in., or 38 cm., tall) is great way to carry the previously mentioned poster tube and water bottles. A tote bag can also be a life-saver on the last day of the convention, when vendors are running out of their own bags — it’s a great way to get things together for a day, dump it all back at your base, and head out for more the next day.
4. App-Enabled Device to Access My Show
Being able to keep up with the show and plan your schedule with My Show can help smooth out any stress over running in between panels or signings. Have your smartphone handy if you can, so that you can stay connected and pinpoint which shows, gatherings, and events you’d like to attend. Outside of My Show, having a handy guide to the surrounding area on your preferred map app is vital for out-of-towners who might need to navigate their way back to their hotel.
Oh, dear London, there’s a reason that these two are lumped together, and locals probably know why. You’re in for a week of back-and-forth heat and cloudy weather that will kick off with some rainfall before the weekend begins. Grab your tote bag and drop either a raincoat or an umbrella in with a bottle of sunscreen so that you’re prepared for the unpredictable.
6. Comfortable Shoes
Not only can you expect to travel everywhere, but if you’re not used to being on your feet for very long, Celebration can get tiring pretty fast. With that in mind, another great way to keep your energy up throughout the show is to wear shoes that won’t wear you out. If you’re someone who is able to, you’ll often find yourself standing in line for long periods of time, standing in a packed panel room, and standing as you wait for autographs or lunch orders. So, along with taking breaks, making sure that you’re ready to get through the day on your feet sn important.
If you’re a Legion member or a cosplayer, shoe inserts can be a massive help for anyone in huge boots or crazy heels. Grab a few before the weekend! Speaking of our friends in costume…
7. Cosplayers: Makeup Setting Spray or Powder
Whether you’re proudly representing the defiant Twi’leks or decked out as your favorite Rebel hero, the fact of the matter is that (if you haven’t guessed already) you’re about to face a ton of humidity this week. While many Star Wars cosplayers and costumers will find themselves in armor (in which case: bring a fan to keep yourself cool and a handler to get you to a cool resting space), even more will be donning elaborate body paint or layers of robes. Using setting spray or powder will not only help keep your makeup in place for those fantastic alien ensembles, it’ll also help keep your skin from feeling like you’ve just arrived on Dagobah.
Whether you go with spray or powder is determined by the amount of makeup you’re wearing and what your skin needs, but for those who can, making sure that you have SPF in your setting makeup can also help protect you from any spurts of sunlight the sky decides to grace you with over the weekend.
8. A Good Attitude
The last and most important accessory is also the cheesiest, but it rings true every single Celebration. You, as an attendee, are home: you’re among many people who love the same things you do, where the heroes of your childhood are available to meet, and you deserve to feel just as thrilled as anyone else. Prepare for Celebration with the bright eyes of a Rebel watching the Death Star fall (or, for some of us, a First Order soldier who just watched Hosnian Prime explode) and know that no matter how you feel anywhere else in the world, this weekend is for you. Go in with a smile and you’re bound to find an adventure or three.
Catrina Dennis is a writer and Star Wars die-hard. In her spare time, she tells stories, yells very loudly about soccer, and hosts a few very cool podcasts. Catch up with her on Twitter @ohcatrina.