At a Hotel near Chicago in April, the Chicago Age Players held an annual convention that showed what happens when you Dream Big about Being Little.
The CAPCon Experience: Friday
Thankfully, the hotel room mates kicked me a little around Noon on Friday. We had quite a bit to set up before the convention opened registration later that day. First on the docket was setting up the ball pit. Pulling the vehicles around to the back of the hotel, we made short order out of the task of carrying about 5000 ball pit balls into the convention space. And instantly, we saw the feel of family in action.
What would have taken two or three people quite some time to accomplish became a quick task as a caravan of people lent both of their hands. In a few short minutes, the ball pit walls and its balls were safely inside the convention space. And a group of about 15 people went from one room to another within the convention space, setting everything up. And many hands showed the growing feel of family. Not only was CAPCon a “coming out” party for so many newbies, but every step (or crawl) of the way, the acceptance of one and all wasn’t just felt but also shown.
CAPCon had grown since 2012 and it wasn’t just in numbers but also appeal. They made a decision to stick to one particular theme of catering to the light side of the force. There was a lot of soul searching that went into that decision, but all agreed on it when it became time to make up minds. But how CAPCon kept things “under wraps” was truly amazing to see working.
Events like FetFest Con, The Geeky Kink Event, Floating World and many others usually take control of the entire hotel. They cater to a broad spectrum of interests and fetishes. So finding the attendee numbers to justify taking over the whole hotel is far easier. But for a specific-themed convention like CAPCon, it’s a bit trickier. With a few short years (likely by next year or the following), CAPCon will have grown into the numbers needed, but until then, they have set up a simple set of rules to allow the Con to grow with the privacy desired.
At the hotel, you are free to dress however you please in your hotel rooms and inside the convention space. But all hallways and common areas are vanilla-only. The blinds were closed in the convention space and one entrance was used. And this simple rules system worked so beautifully that, when within the hallways and common areas, CAPCon was transparent.
Throughout the day, we set up the changing room, the classrooms, the vendors area and did other various set ups in the con space. And by the time attendees started arriving later that afternoon, we were ready. But even before the registration opened, I found myself walking into the arms of friends I hadn’t seen since last year. And those hugs were some of the greatest memories of the weekend. Registration began and by early evening, we had packed the one classroom for the first class discussion. Ageplay Relationships was the first topic of a wonderful weekend of many topics. And suddenly all these new people sitting in amongst the ones you already knew ceased to be new. They became friends.
The convention space included two classrooms, a vendors’ area, a changing room which included diaper changing room and the open play space. In this open space was an enormous ball bit, a play pen, a Lego area, a table for coloring, a table for games, a tricycle, a naughty chair, a raffle table and more things to do than there would be time to do.
I had the pleasure, towards the end of the first day, to sit in one of the classrooms and read bedtime stories. It was heart-warming to see so many people come into that room and curl up under blankets to listen. There are moments in time when you have so much more to say than just “Thank You”. Being too choked up to say it usually prevents you. And being choked up before reading bedtime stories can prove to be a little tricky, too! LOL But I gathered myself and read until my voice went dry.
As the convention space closed that night, round two of the after parties commenced. Certain ABDL-ers opened their rooms for visitors to come in and chat. Others even brought food for the night time. One room in particular had the most incredible barbecue sandwiches you could hope for. Another room hosted cartoon movies, from How to Train Your Dragon to Despicable Me and more. A portable projector and a white sheet turned the movie into a theater experience as opposed to people crowding around a TV. Other rooms were open for boozin’, if that was your thing. And still other rooms were open for bruisin’, if that was your thing. But just like the convention itself, there were more rooms to attend in the after-party hours and more to do than you would have time to get done.
I found myself floating from one room to the next all night. And as people began to go to sleep and as I went to the lobby for my super late night story contemplations, I reflected on the day that was and how CAPCon 2013 had picked up right where CAPCon 2012 had left off. It all happened so seamlessly. By the time even I went to sleep that night, that family feel was now in full force.
And the Convention had barely begun.
Continue on to Part Three