It all started with Facebook. That’s usually how some interesting stories start, to say the least. But this interesting story lead to myself and another journalist spending the night in the McCormick convention center underneath the Death Star at the Nissan booth.
I shared this post on Facebook last Monday, and jokingly said that if you need to find me — I’m a big Star Wars fan — that you should just look over at the Nissan display. Wendy at Nissan replied that she could “get you a cot” and sleep under the Death Star. At this point, we were both just being silly as why would that happen?
A few minutes later my phone rings, and it’s Wendy. “So would you be interested in actually doing if it I can make it happen?” Suddenly it became serious. There was still probably no way that auto show security would let it happen, but I said, “Sure, let’s do it!”
I rounded up my buddy and fellow contributor Nicole Wakelin and waited. With just two days before the auto show media days set to begin, it didn’t seem likely to happen. Well, I was wrong.
Auto show security said it was okay to do, and Nissan had just a couple of days to turn a sleepover inside a convention center into a full-on Star Wars experience.
After an evening of auto show receptions we headed into McCormick Place and was greeted by a completely ridiculous setup. We had cots and sleeping bags from Alps Mountaineering — the bags looked like the uniforms rebel pilots wear. We had some swag from the Disney store. We had food and snacks. We were all set up for a night of nerdery.
We were set up literally right underneath the Death Star. Well, a giant inflatable Death Star that LucasFilm had constructed for Nissan. We were right next to the Nissan Rogue X-Wing concept.
We acted like mature adults and took our pictures with light sabers inside the Nissan GTR. We rode around on kids scooters — nearly killing ourselves. We even sat around and red bedtime stories, just like C-3PO does with Ewoks in Return of the Jedi.
The actually sleeping part was a bit difficult. We expected the lights inside the convention center to turn off when the cleaning crew finished their job for the day. We were told that might be tentatively around 10:30 pm Central. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The lights were at full-illumination all night since the cleaning crews worked all night.
But that didn’t detract from the fun we had. I really enjoy experiences that truly make me feel like a kid again. That’s part of the reason why I like driving fast cars. They make me go “Wow!” like I’m 8 years old. While this wasn’t a high-performance driving event, it still brought those same feelings and emotions to the surface. Plus, how many people can say they’ve slept in an auto show? I’m willing to be we’re probably the first.