ORLANDO, Fla. ? Amid the droid races, costume contests and panel discussions, some devoted "Star Wars" fans tried their luck at finding romance with ? of all things - sci-fi-themed speed dating.
The participants, many of whom were dressed as Jedi knights, stormtroopers and the indomitable Princess Leia, sat opposite one another for a series of 3-minute dates, in hopes of finding a connection with a fellow "Star Wars" enthusiast.
Two speed dating events were planned for the four-day-long Star Wars Celebration V convention here, but the sessions were so popular that the organizers added an impromptu third gathering to the schedule.
"Over the course of the three events, due to size and time, we turned away about 600 participants," the event's host Ryan Glitch, of Gorham, N.Y., told SPACE.com. "Yesterday, this room was packed. We had to keep shoveling people along." [Graphic: Lightsabers in Fact and Fiction]
All's fair in love and "Star Wars"
In total, over 260 "Star Wars" fans took part in the speed dating sessions, which were open to heterosexual and homosexual participants.
The males and females remain anonymous throughout the string of dates ? identified solely by nametags with assigned numbers. The participants record the number of anyone who captures their interest.
After time runs out on all the dates, the males and females write their preferred method of contact on envelopes that correspond to the number assigned to any participant they wish to see or hear from again. This way, contact information is only divulged to those who have sparked a person?s interest.
These precautions are meant to maintain the safety and comfort of the daters.
This was Glitch's first time organizing and hosting speed dating sessions at the annual "Star Wars" Celebration convention. And, it largely happened by accident.
Glitch, who is single, submitted the idea for such an event online, hoping to see it run so that he could meet someone. After several e-mails were exchanged back and forth with the "Star Wars" Celebration V organizers, Glitch found himself at the helm of the dating extravaganza.
"It was an accident," Glitch said. "Well, it was pure luck ? a will of the Force, you could say."
The feedback from the three events has been very positive, Glitch said, and he is aware of nine possible success stories that have come out of the experience.
In fact, at a separate convention event, Glitch saw eight couples that were made up of people who had attended his speed dating sessions.
In the main exhibition hall, a "chapel" was set up to allow "Star Wars" fans to profess their love and devotion to each other in the form of commitment ceremonies.
"I've been told that we?ve had two commitment ceremonies from people that met at my event," Glitch said. "I don't know for sure, but I've been told that by a couple different people."
And, there could a success story on the horizon for Glitch himself.
"It's kind of funny," he said. "I'm the host, so I didn't think people would be paying attention to me. But, I've had about three or four girls per session leave their contact information because they want to hang out."