CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 35,000 people expected to descend on McCormick Place for Star Wars Celebration, and Chicago police are not only are preparing extra security for the five-day event, they’re getting into the fun with a Star Wars tribute video.
Chicago police said they are prepared for one of the largest events of the year at McCormick Place. Some officers are big fans of Star Wars themselves, and created a Star Wars tribute video for the convention.
The video features an officer explaining Chicago-style hot dogs to Chewbacca, stormtroopers taking a selfie at the Bean at Millennium Park and an officer fighting Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel.
Tens of thousands of fans from across the country will be in Chicago for the five-day event, some for the very first time, and they can expect to see extra police officers on hand for public safety, crowd control and traffic management.
Police stressed the importance of fans being aware of their surroundings, and to report anything suspicious.
Fans will go through security checkpoints as they enter the convention, and their bags will be checked.
Parking also is a concern.
One woman said she paid $250 for a five-day pass to the convention, and an additional $72 for two days of guaranteed parking. But she read horror stories about McCormick Place not honoring prepaid parking passes for the C2E2 comic book convention last month, and she’s worried she might run into trouble this week.
“Not being able to get in with my prepaid pass, that bothers me,” Rachel Heiress said. “If I don’t get through, I could miss some of the event. The panels start at 11 a.m.”
SpotHero admitted the weekend of C2E2 it suffered “an isolated issue” and is offering a full refund to anyone impacted.
The ParkMobile app, which sells parking for McCormick Place, has promised a refund for anyone unable to park with a prepaid voucher.
Reed Expo, the company behind both events, has said it will provide regular updates on Twitter about parking lots at McCormick Place.
However, SP+, which operates the lots at McCormick Place, refused to acknowledge anyone with a valid pass was turned away from parking. It maintained anyone with a valid pass was allowed into its lots.