March 6, 2017 – In just over five weeks, Star Wars Celebration will descend upon Orlando for four frenetic days, 13-16 April 2017. And like many conventions before it, there will be a ton of “free” stuff for you to collect.
The value of the freebies can quickly add up into the hundreds of dollars. If you sell them online, you could easily pay for all of your admission cost and, perhaps, part of your travel and lodging expenses as well.
However, most fans will likely not part with their hard-won free Star Wars Celebration Orlando mementos. After traveling hundreds of miles and working diligently to collect the items, these cherished objects will be added to their collections and serve as reminders of an incredible moment in time.
Higher Value Freebies
Some of the more valuable freebies are harder to collect because of limited supply and high demand. Examples include the free carded Star Tots handed out at the end of each collector track panel. This year’s series of Star Tots will honor Return of the Jedi.
Star Tots have proved very popular over the years. They were previously distributed at Celebration Anaheim in 2015 and again in Orlando at Celebration VI in 2012. SWC-VI featured 20 panels offering 20 different Star Tots. Because of limited seating capacity, each panel’s distribution was limited to about 350 per panel. Watch the video below for a fuller description:
The Star Tots designs are inspired by Kenner’s proposed pre-school line of Star Wars toys, which were originally intended to be sold from 1978-1979 but were never released.
The Star Tots are diecast metal with enamel coloring. Each character comes in a resealable clamshell with colorful card backs. On the secondary market, they can easily sell for $10 to $50 each, depending on the character.
Each freebie has a sponsor which pays for the metallic Star Tots (usually the seminar panel speakers), so you should thank them if you get a chance.
Not every year is a Star Tots year.
In 2016, Celebration London handed out coin medallions honoring a vintage Kenner vehicle.
And in 2010, Celebration V in Orlando handed out mini-cereal boxes featuring different Star Wars characters. Each mini-cereal box sells for about $10-$30 on the secondary market.
Hardcore collectors will attempt to attend each panel, but it’s almost impossible. Between queuing in line for each panel, room size capacity, and limited time (20 panels spread out over four days would require you to attend five panels per day), there would be almost no time to attend anything else.
Free Patches Here and There
At Celebration London in 2016, three different collectors’ booths offered one of three different patches to honor The Force Awakens. While the patches were free, they were not easy to collect. Some of the booths were first-come, first-served on different days. Others offered lottery tickets and you could check, every hour, to see if your numbered ticket had been drawn. But if you tried hard enough, you could probably succeed and assemble all three for this stunning London combo patch:
Besides private vendors and collectors’ booths, don’t forget to chat with longtime fans. Whether standing in line or attending a panel or event, some fans will sometimes trade or give away their own custom patches. Here is one example from Celebration London:
Patches often disappear quickly, so make them a priority first thing in the morning. Do your homework ahead of time and research which vendors and collectors’ booths are offering patches for a particular day.
Lower Value Freebies
● Free pins, buttons, stickers, decals and bookmarkers
● JediTempleArchives is offering 16 vintage-style cardbacks at its booth (or you can purchase them online if you cannot attend Celebration)
● In 2012, the Cartamundi booth gave away five lenticular playing cards.
● Free posters and glossy photo-cards
● Free comic books and other promotional product samples
Final Tips and Summary
TIP No. 1: The last hour or two of the final day can be a veritable gold mine. Toward the end, private vendors and fan club booths may be feeling extra generous and might greatly discount – or freely give away – much of their product or any extras they have on hand. (Also, they don’t want to deal with the hassle of repacking, hauling and transporting their items home at closing time on the last day.)
TIP No. 2: If you see a coveted item on the last day, but don’t want to pay full price, ask the vendor if he/she might discount the item later in the day. They may well invite you to check back with them during the final hour. Also, bring cash in case their credit-card processing is closed or non-existent.
TIP No. 3: At closing on the last day, visit the “Frank D’iorio’s Diorama Workshop”. Displayed on the tables will be some dioramas built by fans who either abandoned or “forgot” to retrieve their projects. If you ask the crew, they might let you take some dioramas home rather than have the crew discard these in the trash.
Past creations have included Mos Eisley buildings. For 2017, the diorama theme will be the iconic ILM Death Star surface used to film the trench run.
SUMMARY: The above items are just the tip of the iceberg. Much of the fun lies in the hunt, chasing down and finding unique collectibles.
But perhaps the most valuable collectibles are the new friendships you make and the memories you create.
In the end, all the other stuff is still just “stuff”.