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AutoMatters & More: STAR WARS Celebration — and the beach?

The Mandalorian Experience at STAR WARS Celebration 2022 in Anaheim
The Mandalorian Experience at STAR WARS Celebration 2022 in Anaheim
(Jan Wagner)

STAR WARS Celebration was a fantastic event, beyond my wildest expectations. Held in the Anaheim Convention Center from Thursday, May 26 through Sunday, May 29, 2022, this was a convention for the fans that celebrated all things STAR WARS. There was not enough time to see everything and all of the celebrities, but I did manage to see the incredible, museum-quality Mandalorian Experience (props, costumed characters in elaborate dioramas and even space ships!), Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kathleen Kennedy, a full-scale Yoda recreation built from the original molds by one of the original builders, an animatronic C-3PO, Doug Chiang, the Rancho Obi-Wan exhibit and Steve Sansweet, Ashley Eckstein, Grogu, cosplay characters too numerous to mention, Droid Builders, Funko, R2D2, and way more!

Thank goodness for photography, because this mega-event defies description by mere words. I took thousands of photos with my professional Canon EOS R3 camera, many of which I have edited for you, for publication in my “AutoMatters & More” website version of this column, at http://automatters.net.

Nick Maley: He collaborated in the creation of the original Yoda & built this recreation
Nick Maley: He collaborated in the creation of the original Yoda & built this recreation
(Jan Wagner)

My extensive photography will show you much of what was there. However I may, in the future, expand upon some of those visual experiences with additional columns in which text will provide further description and explanation.

Before we proceed with the photography, I would like to explain my choice of a title for this article. What’s with it ending with “and the beach?” Surely every fan has their own stories about STAR WARS Celebration. As you will soon learn, that is related to my personal story about this convention – something that has made it uniquely memorable for me.

My coverage of this convention took every bit of stamina that I could muster, and I covered it on a frugal budget. So as to avoid an expensive hotel stay, each of the four days I departed San Diego early and drove to Anaheim, in order to arrive in time to go through the Security and COVID protocols, and enter the convention area by its daily 10 a.m. opening time. Then I scrambled to cover as much as I could, each and every day (10-7 Thursday through Saturday, 10-5 on Sunday).

Logo
(Courtesy)

Thursday was a brutal day for me. Not wanting to risk the possibility of leaving something at home in San Diego that I might need, I had loaded up my backpack to the point that it was heavy.

Around noon, I took up a good viewing vantage point on the cement floor to watch and cover what was being presented on an elevated stage. I mostly shot still photos, but occasionally I shot videos, too, which required me to stand very still and lean back. You may be able to appreciate that after 2-3/4 hours of this physical torture, my lower back was aching — so much so that I had difficulty walking, let alone bending over. Furthermore, my lower legs had swollen badly, as they do when I stand for too long.

By the end of Thursday I could barely walk back to where my RAV4 was parked. Each short shuffle-step was painful, as was finally stepping up to get into the driver’s seat. I feared that might be the first and last day that I could cover STAR WARS Celebration. Thankfully, by Friday morning my back hardly ached at all, and I was good to go — after I unloaded much of what was in my backpack!

Costumed STAR WARS characters
Costumed STAR WARS characters
(Jan Wagner)

So, what is with “and the beach?” in the title? On Memorial Day Monday I was not in any pain but I was totally and completely exhausted. Faced with the prospect of sitting in front of my office computer for what will surely be days of sorting through and individually editing some of the thousands of photos that I’d taken, as well as transcribing some of the audio that I’d recorded for later use in the text of my coverage, and writing the column that you are reading now — instead I played hooky at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas! I proceeded to spend hours taking photos (with my iPhone) of people enjoying and celebrating their Memorial Day at the beach. And now you know the rest of the story…

Jan playing hooky at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.
Jan playing hooky at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

(Jan Wagner)

To see the most photos and the latest text, and to explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, visit AutoMatters & More at AutoMatters.net. On the Home Page, search by title or topic, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #744r2


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