Are you a Star Wars fan and sad that there will be no Star Wars Celebration in 2020? Well fear not fans. Skywalking Through Neverland is putting together a Virtual Convention to continue the celebration. The ForceFest Press Release describes the event and gives you links to all of the fun. Here is the Official ForceFest Press Release:
“FORCEFEST” VIRTUAL CONVENTION FILLS VOID FOR FANS WHILE RAISING MONEY FOR MAKE-A-WISH
Online Star Wars convention created and organized by a group of fan content creators to take place on August 28-30
Created to connect fans worldwide and raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation
ForceFest offers a platform where fans and content creators can discuss the passion that unites them.
[GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY, July 16, 2020] When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement of the official Star Wars Celebration fan convention scheduled for August, 2020 in Anaheim California, a group of fans leapt into action to create FORCEFEST, an on-line event that will bring the fandom together leveraging streaming platforms while raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The virtual conference will be held on the GetVokl platform and will take place on August 28-30, to coincide with the dates that Star Wars Celebration 2020 was to be held.
“Star Wars Celebration has always been a huge part of Star Wars fandom,” said Sarah Woloski, one of the event’s organizers. “Fans gather from all over the world to celebrate the Star Wars saga and meet up with new and old friends. We knew we could use technology to mimic that feel virtually.”
FORCEFEST will stream in six different themed “stages” on the GetVokl platform covering Content Creators, A Virtual Meetup “Cantina Lounge,” Interviews and Discussions, Live Action, Comics/Animation/Books, and a Miscellaneous stage. On these tracks, fans will be able to view streamed video versions of various fan-created podcasts that register to be a virtual presenter or host. [REGISTRATION LINK]
“The Star Wars fandom has always been active online creating their own content out of love for the saga,” said David Jesse of Tatooine Sons, one of the organizing shows. “FORCEFEST will create a larger platform for shows of all themes and sizes to share their unique brand of streaming in a shared environment.”
One of the objectives of FORCEFEST: Celebrating The Saga is to give the opportunity for all voices in the Star Wars fandom to be heard. The organization committee has made a commitment to providing a platform for diverse hosts and topics in a family-friendly environment. Application for participation as a show host or volunteer is open now at forms.gle/h3Br82ebAFx6Jr… and https://forms.gle/KFZYm1ZBEpVchJnY9 respectively. Registration closes on August 1, 2020.
We’d love for you to share the news and link with your readers and social media followers. Below is the official social media and additional assets you can share to your channels using #ForceFest2020.
All gave some, Some gave all. Memorial Day is the day set aside to remember those who gave their all so that we can enjoy our freedoms. Please take a moment to remember our fallen service members. There has been a lot of discussion lately about our freedoms, is the government doing too much, are they doing too little, etc. Well remember, if it wasn’t for our fallen service members, we wouldn’t have these freedoms. Let alone be able to even discuss them.
For the past month or so, I have been hooked on watching the HBO mini-series “Band of Brothers” over and over. It is so humbling seeing what these amazing men did for us. It is also motivating. I also discovered a show called “Dick Winters: Hang Tough” – the life of Major Winters of Easy Company and “A Company of Heroes” – the real life Easy Company men telling their own story.
These movies really remind us of what sacrifice is and what heroes truly go through.
I also want to take a minute to thank all the hard workers out there battle COVID-19 so we can sit safe in our homes. And to remember those great warriors, many who were active service members, who fell to this horrible disease.
I started running January of 1977 when my best friend talked me into signing up for Track & Field. We were going to run the hurdles. I loved the hurdles and I soon began running in the 440 and 1 mile relays. The hurdlers always had a friendly rivalry with the distance runners on who had the harder event. We always were begging the coach to let us hurdlers run a distance race, but he would not. The coach didn’t want us tired for our events. One meet late in my junior year, we were so far ahead in points, it didn’t mater how we did in the high hurdles. We saw our chance, and the coach let us run. I didn’t win, but I pulled out a 4:50 mile. The next week, I was surprised to see that I was listed for the mile and not the high hurdles. I wasn’t very good at the highs, but wait, what? Yep, I was signed up and I ran a 4:55. The final week of the season, I was signed up again, and this time I ran a 5:00. I was slowly getting worse, but I also was not training for distance. I was still practicing for hurdles and relays.
That summer, the Cross Country coach talked a former student into trying to convince me to try out for the Cross Country team in my senior year. Was he crazy? I was a hurdler. I was finally convinced to try and we had an awesome team that year. I ran most of the year as Junior Varsity (JV), but both the JV and Varsity team were pretty close in talent. The coach would swap us for about 1/3 of the races to rest the varsity team and so they didn’t use up all their points for races. Both teams received Varsity letters that year as we all earned enough qualifying points to Letter. The last quarter of the season I was moved up to Varsity when one of the Varsity members was injured. For track that year, I still ran low hurdles, but ran distance races instead of relays. Most of my distance friends had run marathons, but I never had any desire to run one. Those things could kill you. The longest I ever ran was 10 miles.
After graduating from High School, I continued to run local races, but did not run college track. My school had great Cross Country and Track & Field teams. I also wanted to concentrate on school. College was not the same as high school. You really had to work there. My running eventually began to peter out. I would run for a while, then not run for a while. When I started work, I began running to stay in shape for work. This was on again, off again running. In 1987 I started running regular. but even this eventually just became a daily chore. Get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home and clean the house, make dinner, run…
But I was running. Then in 2011, my wife, a none runner, announced that she and a friend of hers was going to run the Disneyland Half Marathon. Was she crazy? They trained and they did it. I went to support them and to take pictures. The race was amazing. So many people dressed up as their favorite characters and there were some truly amazing costumes. It looked like so much fun, was so well organized, and they couldn’t stop talking about all the cool stuff Disneyland had done to “Plus” the event. They got these amazing, really heavy metal medals. Right then I decided that I was going to run one too. I started training for the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon. I could do this. I ran 10 miles before, and this was only 3.1 miles more. Of course, I had run that ten miler 31 years before.
I was way out of running shape. Ok so I did have a shape, but you wouldn’t correlate it with a runner. I trained, stopped, started, got hurt, but eventually I made it to the starting line. Would I be able to finish? I wasn’t the runner I use to be. My ideas about how to run were old. Sure the core was still the same. But look at how many people were there just to have fun. So many were dressed in amazing costumes. I wasn’t sure how some of them would finish the race in their costumes. I started the race and was amazed at all of the wonderful things Disneyland did to make the race special. After running about 4 miles through the Parks and seeing so many characters and other amazing things, we hit the streets. Wait, what, we are already 4 miles into the race?
Now I was seeing amazing crowds, high school marching bands, Cheer leaders, Cosplayers, and even a car show. We went through Angel Stadium and the crowds cheered for us. I even saw myself on the Jumbotron. After exiting the stadium, I noticed a lot of people cheering for a Russ. They kept yelling for him to keep going, you’re almost to the finish line. There was only about 3.5 miles to go. I was wondering who this other Russ was until I realized one of the people was looking straight at me. How did this person know my name. I’ll say I was just tired, but I think it was just a brain “f*rt”. Ah, they print your first name on your bid, duh. I was really having to push myself.
The crowds were still yelling. other runners were encouraging me to keep going, almost there. Does it seem like you are always “almost there”? But then, there is was. The finish line. Old skills kicked in and I dug deep. I kicked it in as I had been taught all those years ago. I crossed the finish line with a 2:39:54 time. Really? I ran a 12:12 minutes per mile pace? And there were the medal people. A nice lady came up to me and placed that medal on my neck. It was even heavier than my wife’s medal had felt the previous year. It felt great. I had finished my first Half Marathon, and I was hooked. Sure I was sore and pretty much couldn’t walk for the next 3 days (just kidding, but I was majorly sore). I was proud to wear my medal around the Park that day. So cool to hear so many people’s medals clacking as they walked around the Parks, and I had one too.
Since that Day, I have run several more Run Disney races including 12 more Half Marathons, two 10k’s, 2 Virtual half Marathons, and 9 Virtual 5K races. My races include running at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I have run all of the Star Wars Light Side and Dark Side Half Marathons. I was on track to be a legacy runner for both the Light Side and Dark Side Star Wars Half Marathons. You have to run every race in a series and get the title after the 5th year. At Disneyland, they would post the names of all of the legacy runners. One more Dark Side and I will be a Legacy runner. They discontinued all of the races at Disneyland due to construction. There is no word yet whether they will start the races again after the construction is completed. If they do start them again, I’m not sure if they are counting the virtual races towards the Star Wars Legacy, will pick up where they left off, or have to start over again. But I will be there if they start running at Disneyland again.
My next Run Disney race is the Star Wars Light Side virtual race that they are running to get people moving and have a little fun. It is also the race that allows you to get the Kessel Run medal if you also run the Rivals Half marathon (formerly Dark Side). My next race at a Park is next April 2020 for the Star Wars Rivals Half Marathon. With the break due to no Disneyland races, I have really been working on updating my knowledge of running. Adjusting my diet, losing weight, learning how to properly use gels during races, how to train better, and to actually be training without injury. I really would like to get a 2 hour race next April. I know if I work hard and put my mind to it, I can do it. My times have been improving. As part of this prep, I started the My Disney Races Facebook and Instagram accounts.
I also truly hope as things start to settle back down at Disneyland, that they bring back the Half Marathons. I know there are political and operational consideration that must be addressed before the races can start again. But I know all of us Disneyland Half Marathon runners want our races back. I love the races at Walt Disney World, but that is such a long trip. It’s nice to be able to pop down on Friday and go home Monday, and still get to spend a lot of time at the Parks. I still don’t have a desire to do a full marathon, and not much motivation to run other Halfs, but I love Disney races and as long as Disney puts them on and I am capable to running them, I will be there.
I went out today just to keep loose. Started feeling a little pull in right thigh. Decided to play it safe and cut it short. I’ll work on stretches and roller the rest of the week. Probably walk run on Wednesday, but rest up for next Sunday’s Walt Disney World, Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon. Ran 2.28 at 9:30 pace.
Today’s run was a light maintenance run for next week’s Walt Disney World, Run Disney, Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend. I’m pretty happy over all with today’s run. I ran 3.06 miles at 9:51 pace.
“CYBER MONDAY”!!! This sale was so popular on “Black Friday”, that I am bringing it back for Cyber Monday. Buy autographed copies of my books about the details of Disneyland today for only $13 each, or get both books for $25.
Both books cover the details of Disneyland that you are meant to see, but may not be aware of. There is no duplication between the two books.
That’s right, get an autographed copy of my Seen Un-Seen Disneyland books for just $13. This sale ends at midnight so hurry and get your copy. Go to my store at ECWID to get you copies. https://sudbooks.ecwid.com/
It is with a very sad and heavy heart that I report the passing of former Walt Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar.
My thoughts on the passing of Legendary Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar
I first met Marty Sklar at a special eventput on by the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet in 2012. At the time, I had a rough draft of my first book. Mr. Sklar was very inspirational and is part of the reason I pressed ahead and now not only have that book in print, but a second book in print and a third in the works.
I had the good fortune to see him talk several times and even got to have a brief private conversation with him twice.
He is not without his controversies, but he was a good man. He brought much joy to countless numbers of people, including me and my family. He took Walt Disney’s founding principles and never wavered from them. They were successful for Walt, and he continued with that success. I have signed copies of both of Mr. Sklar’s books and will always cherish them and their great words of advise.
I can’t claim to have personally known him, but I have benefited from his writings, presentations, and personal words of advise.
Thank you Marty,
Russell D Flores
Here are some links reporting on Marty Sklar’s passing: