On Wednesday Night, April 9th 2014, I climbed into my car at about 9pm and began a journey that would last until the following Monday morning. It was a road trip to start that led to a Midwest location that, even after I got out of the car from 16 hours of driving, would still present to me … open roads.
CAPCon 2014 was the destination, near Chicago. And with Penji on board, we traveled through four states through the night. (Drop Penji a line and tell him Zorro sent you.) Along the way, we scooped up some ball pit people and caravanned the trek, stopping occasionally to allow ourselves to unwind. But it really didn’t feel like 16 hours on the road. Instead, it was a constant visual reminder that our journey was to an experience that would harbor as much openness as the voyage out to it.
The hotel building was absolutely amazing. It was a new location and one that would fit just nicely for the sold out 2014 offering of CAPCon. I remember when I walked into the main play area on Friday morning. Everything was set up and it was ready for all the crinkly yittlins it could hold. Little Philly’s ball pit sat in one of the corners. The play pen sat next to it. The big red tricycle sat in the middle of the room. Along all the walls were coloring tables, enormous lawn chairs, a high chair, a lego station, a stuffed animals area, a Matchbox area, a raffle table and a weekend of little dreams floating in the air.
I stood at the entrance to the play area and watched people walking down the entrance hallway, some stopping at the vendors along the way and others waddling straight into the prepared play land. I watched some of them playing for a while and then looked back up the hallway again to see how jam-packed it had become. More entered the play room and more filled the hallway. And they just kept coming.
As I stood there, I relived all the past CAPCons, NELICon from 2011, BDSM events that welcomed a littles area, munches, house parties and other gatherings I had attended – all of which were wonderful and were part of the open road journey to get where I presently stood. I remember once thinking that it would never seem likely that a single-fetish hotel convention could ever grow big enough to take over an entire hotel. But standing there, I realized that in 4 years, CAPCon was half-way there. And it no longer seemed unlikely to me.
One of the 8,469 things that I love about CAPCon is about how it is such a perfectly tossed salad. All Races, Genders, Ethnicities, Ages, Sexual Preferences, Bigness, Littleness, Middleness, Dark Interests, Pure Interests, Furries, Sissies, Transgenders, Crossdressers, People with good aims during Nerf Wars and Some people (like me) who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn – Everyone and Everything had a place at CAPCon.
And the best part was: Everyone’s place was right next to the person you were standing beside. Absolutely no one was alienated. There were no cliques, no cool kids, no uncool kids, no cocky kids, no drama, never a feeling that you didn’t belong somewhere or that you needed to walk to the one side of the play area because you didn’t feel comfortable on the other side.
When you eliminate all of that garbage, everyone has a blast and a half.
CAPCon has the right atmosphere and, as BabyLuke put it during orientation, the ambiance. This is the environment that fosters community and growth – of self and of others. And the fact that CAPCon sold out is undeniable proof that people actually like this environment and like it a lot.
And the bacon bits on top of this perfectly tossed salad were sprinkled on when we got to hear Mako Allen read from his brand new book on Saturday Night!
Friday and Saturday, the Con held classes – in the mornings and afternoons. I only made it to three but from the Stories & Games class to the Little Detectives class to the Age Play Relationships class, the perfect mixture of fun-n-silliness coupled with support-n-friendship to make … family.
But the fun wasn’t just had in the convention space. Each night, when the con space closed, the fun went to the room parties. And there were so many this year that a thread was created on the CAPCon group on FetLife, just to let everyone know where to go. In one room, cartoon movies played each night. In another room, an ultra-competitive Mario Kart tournament commanded the night time. And these games and movies weren’t played on tiny televisions. Oh no no. They were shown through projectors that filled entire walls of these rooms. Beyond the games and movie showings was a room that showed the many wonderful things you could do with a Hitachi wand. Other rooms offered adult beverages, if you were so inclined to partake. I even walked into one room that had a guy in it who was nice enough to change anyone’s diaper that was beginning to sag too much. 😉 And to find all these parties, I simply walked the halls of the hotel floors that had been booked completely by CAPConers. I just listened for the sounds of laughter and of fun being had by all.
CAPCon has always been big of that family feeling and from it, connections are made. I lost track of the number of times I ventured outside to talk with the guy I will forever call Smoker. This was a guy who only wore a smile on his face and by being himself, he attracted anyone who came outside to enjoy some nicotine. I met a fine gentleman from Canada who hosts another ABDL gathering on his property. Another person I began to get into conversations with because of how he had spoken from his heart in the relationships class. I talked with Old Friends. I talked with New Friends. With East Coasters. With West Coasters. And the Canadiens, eh?
Saturday hosted the main event as always: The CAPCon Pageant. To begin with, a past CAPCon Princess dazzled us with her LED hula hoop display. And then it was on to the contestants. This was another one of those “And they just kept coming…” moments. And we, in the audience, couldn’t have been happier. One after another, they walked up, answered a question and performed a talent. They all were creative. Some were nervous, but they left it all on the stage and their accomplishments were applauded with more clapping hands than could be counted.
I think it’s safe to say that CAPCon 2014 outdid itself for the 4th year in a row. CAPCon is an ever-growing, ever-changing, all-encompassing ABDL experience that gives you more to do than you will ever have time to get done. And as it changes, we as its attendees, change with it (EVERY PUN INTENDED).
I simply cannot wait until CAPCon 2015, but I guess I’ll have to. And if you haven’t been a part of the experience that has now hosted more than a combined 450 attendees, I cannot encourage you enough to follow that impulse in your little heart to follow the pathways that lead to CAPCon … and to open roads.The CAPCon Website The Chicago Age Players Group on FetLife The CAPCon Group on FetLife