This past Labor Day weekend Seattle played host to a one-of-a-kind Star Wars event: I.C.E. Seattle 2013. This International Collector Event was, for the lack of a better description, a 5-day “convention” for Star Wars collectors the world over. Unlike the typical convention which is open to the public and heavily advertised, I.C.E was a tightly kept secret by those involved in or with the collecting community. It was not publicized and was by invitation only because of the locations that the convention took place.
Seattle and the surrounding area was the destination for the approximate 200 collectors who attended because of the regions high concentration of world-renowned Star Wars collectors. Many of the I.C.E. events took place at the private homes of these collectors hence the reason for such guarded secrecy and lack of promotion. Seattle also plays home to one of the oldest, most diverse and dedicated regional Star Wars fan clubs: S.A.R.L.A.C.C. The club’s acronym which stands for the Seattle ARea Lucasfilm Artifact Collectors Club is made up Star Wars fans who collect toys and action figures, movie props and high-end collectibles, in addition to fans who craft, cosplay, podcast and customize. The fan club’s members not only planned, designed and funded many parts of the I.C.E. events but also provided volunteers who worked each and every event.
It’s important to note that even though there are 100′s, and if not 1,000′s of prolific collectors who did not have the chance to attend I.C.E. Seattle; it was not by any means an exclusionary event. Each attendee had a connection with either the S.A.R.L.A.C.C fan club or the host collectors and no one in attendance was there without an invitation.
In addition to the numerous hours of planning, graphic designing and organizing the committee members of I.C.E. chose to include “swag bags” at each of the already free events. These give-away bags included incredible fan-made Star Wars collectibles.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss was privileged to have attended this event and the following is a brief run-down of the events that took place over the five days.
Friday Evening – Welcome Party at Wine World & Spirits in Seattle: Hosted by Don and Randi Weidner
The first night included a kick-off party for fellow collectors to meet and greet each other. Here collectors began the holiday weekend event with a round of button trading, appetizers and free drinks provided by Star Wars collectors Don and Randi Weidner.
As the evening turned into night many collectors navigated to a local hotel and took over the tables in it’s bar section for an impromptu round of “room sales”. Pre-production items, bootlegs, foreign memorabilia and good ‘ole Star Wars discussions dominated the room into the wee hours of the night.
Saturday Morning – Toy Run
This organized toy run provided guided trips to two of the regions more prominent toy stores. The first stop was to Lynne’s Toy Stable in Tacoma, WA to view the amazing toy store which features not only vintage Star Wars collectibles but many other brands of the eighties. The second stop was in Aberdeen, WA at Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop. Being the largest Star Wars focused shops on the West Coast, if not the country, more then one interesting item was found and purchased at Sucher and Sons.
Saturday Evening – Lake Kathleena Cantina Bottom’s Up Bash: A Party and Tour of Tom Stewart’s Collection
Held on beautiful LakeKathleena, this party included the most unbelievable and delicious action figure scaled Sail Barge and Sarlacc Pit cake created by Jim Gibbons. In addition to the Craft Show and auction taking place the night also included a bon fire started with a near life-sized stuffed Darth Vader. And of course no Rebel celebration/funeral pyre would be complete without a firework show over the lake.
Sunday Morning – Kessel Run Tour
The third day of the convention began with a tour of local S.A.R.L.A.C.C. members Star Wars collections and memorabilia. This was a unique way to see the diversity of collecting by taking mini-tours of the about ten the fan club collector’s homes.
Sunday Evening – Bobacabana Grand Re-Opening Party: A Party and Tour of Gus Lopez and Pam Green’s Collection
After the Kessel Run tours, attendees spent the night dinning and touring Lopez’s immense and amazing collection. On display in every room of his four-story home was original movie props (including the original Death Star from A New Hope), cereal boxes, vintage toy production pieces, full set pieces from Mos Espa and a complete carded and boxed vintage action figure collection.
Monday Morning – 30th Anniversary Return of the Jedi Screening Party hosted by S.A.R.L.A.C.C.
What Star Wars event held in 2013 would be complete without a tribute to the 30-year-old film? Movie prop aficionado Brandon Alinger supplied a 35mm print of film which allowed all in attendance to view the film as it originally debuted three decades ago. Preceding the event was a secret screening of 42 minutes of Brain Stillman’s rough-cut edit of his documentary Plastic Galaxy – The Story of Star Wars Toys. The documentary was extra special as many of the collectors present were featured in the film. In addition to the secret screening was a tease from Rancho Obi-Wan president aka former Luscasfilm fan relations director aka owner of the largest Star Wars collection in the world; Steve Sansweet. Sansweet withheld all details but mentioned that there would be a big announcement out of Rancho Obi-Wan in mid-September about an upcoming November event.
Monday Evening – The Death Star Theater Open House: A Party and Tour of Vic Wertz and Lisa Stevens’ Collection
Collectors were treated to yet another one-of-a-kind collection and experience upon visiting The Death Star Theater. Wertz and Stevens’ residence is home to: an arcade which contains a complete collection of playable Star Wars arcade and pinball machines, a two-story museum featuring action figure prototypes, movie props, statues, posters and high-end replicas and mostly notably a large home movie theater which resembles the bridge of a Star Destroyer created by designers from the prequel trilogy. During the party many attendees stopped into their two-story Indiana Jones inspired library to be interviewed by the cast of The Galaxy of Toys Podcast.
Tuesday Morning – EMP Museum featuring the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
The final day of the event offered a chance for collectors to visit Seattle’s museum under the Space Needle. The Science Fiction Museum is home to many classic film props and up until recently had Lopez’s Death Star on display.
Tuesday Evening – The Empire Strikes Bock Closing Night Party: A Party and Tour of Lauren Boch’s Collection
All good things must come to an end and so did I.C.E. Seattle. Mega collector Lauren Boch opened his home/collection to all in attendance for a final time to both awe in amazement of his massive collection and say good bye to all the hosts of the weekend’s events.
With all the planning, coordination, time and money that went into creating I.C.E. Seattle 2013 it is difficult to say if there will be another like this one but S.A.R.L.A.C.C. and all of the hosts hope that if so, the bar has now been raised for a new era of collector gatherings.
Oh and remember when we mentioned that there was free “swag bags” at each major event, host coins, exclusives to purchase and give-aways galore? We’ll cover those in a future article here at From 4-LOM to Zuckuss.
(Some pictures courtesy of Jedi-Business.com)