Thousands of Star Wars fans flock to convention in Orlando



ORLANDO, Fla. - There are thousands of people visiting Orlando and spending millions to celebrate Jedis, princesses, smugglers, and Wookiees.

Normally, the organizers of the famed Star Wars convention move the event from city to city, but WFTV's Steve Barrett found out there's something about Orlando that's really good for business.

Star Wars fans are known to be some of the most fanatic, but in Orlando they mean big bucks this week as the Star Wars Celebration convention is in full swing

Light sabers, Wookiees and little round-topped robots roamed the convention floor along International Drive.

Orlando is the only city to have hosted this convention twice.

"It's huge, it's amazing there's a lot to look at," said Jessica Thiele, of Tweelik.

The Star Wars Celebration is just one of dozens of huge conventions Orlando is now attracting year after year.

"It's got the size they need. It's got the different levels to do things," said Ben Jayko, a Star Wars fan.

Not only does this convention offer the coolest badges around and the ability to get a Star Wars tattoo on the spot, but it also brings $34 million to the local economy.

That money comes in many forms, including sales tax from merchandise, all the dining and lodging needed, and families that take in the non-Star Wars related attractions.

Bob Papalambropoulos came all the way from Canada and said he'd love to see this convention take root in Orlando.

About 30,000 to 35,000 Star Wars fans are in town for this convention, but no one knows if the force will be with Orlando again. Where and when the future of the Star Wars Celebrations is kept secret until about eight months prior to the event.

It could be years before another is announced.

Orlando also hosted the convention in 2010.