Updated:ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando has been invaded by thousands of storm troopers and Jedis and local businesses are hoping to cash in on the biggest Star Wars convention in the world.
EVENT INFO: Star Wars Celebration V
The convention started Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center and it's expected to draw more than 25,000 over the next four days.
The general manager at the convention center believes they could top 30,000; that's half of what the convention center draws for a larger event, like the Homebuilder's Trade Show.
The convention center is still heavily-reliant on these smaller events, because they help bridge the gap when the larger conventions aren't in town. The Star Wars Celebration V event is expected to add $35 million to the local economy.
"An enormous economic impact," Convention Center General Manager Jessie Allen told WFTV. "A combination of the two really benefits the community overall, because it keeps our workforce active."
Annually, there are about 200 conventions that come to the Central Florida area and the economic impact is about $1.4 billion.
"[Star Wars fans] probably spend more money on Star Wars than they do on regular day-to-day expenses," Star Wars fan Anthony Foister said.
Star Wars fans have come from all over the world to be a part of the event and they are already spending money.
"It's early, so it'll probably be a couple hundred a day by the time I'm all said and done. Some people take their kids on vacation, happens once every three years, so I can save for it," Star Wars fan Jeff Clark, who flew in from Chicago, said.
The event continues through the weekend. There will be panel discussions with actors from the movies, classes on how to make costumes and, of course, memorabilia to buy. The highlight of the event is a visit from the films' creator, George Lucas, on Saturday.
For more information on the event, click here.