While driving home from TeddyCon on Monday, I thought back on the week that had been – on the 8 days that made up the TeddyCon 2019 experience for me … from storage to load in to set up to convention to tear down to storage return. And the first thought that came to mind was one of the last things to happen.
The convention itself ends at noon on Sunday of the TeddyCon weekend. It is a dramatic shift in atmosphere as the vast majority of people depart. Emotions swell and soar. It’s a wonderful moment in time we all remember vividly and take with us as we head on our way.
Whereas Sunday of the week prior is when we (the setup crew) look at an empty convention space, dreaming of the new memories that will be made in a few short days as we begin to fill it with everything needed – Closing Sunday of TeddyCon is when we (the tear down crew) take a deep breath as we reflect on the convention one last time before turning that convention space back into an empty one.
But this year, it was a sizable group of remaining attendees who brought a second set of tears to our eyes as they stuck around as long as they could and helped us pack up everything.
A task that, from tear down to truck loading to return to the storage space, would’ve taken 12 hours (with a dinner break) – suddenly became something we completed in 5 hours.
And it goes without saying that no amount of Thanks Yous can adequate express our gratitude.
While driving home, my next thought was about a discussion I had with someone on Wednesday evening – the night before the convention opened … a discussion that led to the title of this posting.
Sitting out in front of the hotel, I talked with someone who said: “I come here every year for a new storybook experience.”
Immediately, I got out my little green book and wrote that sentence down – knowing then what my TC 2019 posting would be about.
And how true it is. TeddyCon remains familiar each year, maintaining the same structure but filling it with new content each time. As there are always multiple things to do, it is indeed the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure that each attendee makes of it. And because the attendees are able to personalize each and every moment, there is a new storybook experience for everyone … every year.
And the idea of New began right away. TeddyCon 2019, our third hotel takeover, offered the new additions of two see saws in the courtyard. One of them was the usual kind of see saw but the other not only went up-n-down. It also went in a circle. It was a wonderful pairing to add with the swing set that debuted at TC 2018.
While walking from the con space to the classes in the breakfast nook to the pool to the courtyard, I could see everyone’s new storybook experiences playing out – with more and more pages being filled with memories that would become chapters.
It was very clear that, not only did people want to be there but they wanted to have the time of their lives.
There is both truth and a sense of humility in accepting that attendees at anything could collectively ruin it … if they wanted to. That’s undeniable. But the TC 2019 attendees didn’t want to ruin anything. And this was what created an atmosphere unique from all TCs prior. Familiar for certain, but still unique.
Thursday night was the opening night 3-for all with the BDSM Show & Tell in the con space (having debuted with approval in 2018), karaoke in the bar and a dive-in movie in the pool area. But if you added the courtyard and the littles play space, it would become a 5-for-all.
This is the point in the weekend when the energy shoots straight upward, the first night.
I saw people flowing from one location to the next, taking in everything that was being offered, meeting up with old friends, saying hello to the new people and welcoming in that feeling of family. There were no outsiders, no outcasts, no cliques, nothing like that at all.
And everyone was enjoying their new storybook experience.
I spoke with another gentleman in the courtyard, late Thursday night (or early Friday morning – whichever way you look at it.) And this guy brought up the subject of stories, making concrete for me what the topic of this posting would be.
I stood there for quite a while as I listened to him detail a story he had been writing for several years. It was an epic tale he told with such details that his passion for it was evident in the tone of his voice as well as in his eyes. I marveled over everything he said and encouraged him to keep writing it.
I would do my nightly rounds around the building, scooping up the late-night diaper bags around the hallways while still feeling the energy in that hotel. I would eventually go to bed, but that guys passionate, epic story stayed on my mind.
Friday would pick up right where Thursday left off, right before everybody took that long blink. And day two of TC 2019 was a busy one.
Classes kicked up right after breakfast and a full slate of crafts, activities and socials filled the space throughout the day – including (but not limited to) a new 2019 activity … The Pet Playground. This activity was born from suggestions people made online. Just as there were plenty of ABDLers who also enjoyed BDSM (hence the BDSM Show & Tell event), an activity for the furries among us came to be. And the storybooks kept growing wider.
New for TC 2019 was the petting zoo out in the courtyard (which included a llama!) It was a lot of fun and the animals ate up the attention along with the hay. The weather was cooperative with us this year and this enabled us to utilize the courtyard for things like the petting zoo.
Another New headlined Friday evening as TeddyCon’s Got Talent took the stage, ABBear stepping forward and singing his crinkly rendition of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. Then he hosted the talent show, dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on an activity that had some serious preparation put into it. From lights to smoke to the sounds provided by Lettice, our blessed AV officionado, the first TeddyCon’s Got Talent show dazzled. And I know Little Philly is already planning to expand it for 2020.
Afterwards, people went to room parties or to the rave dancing in the bar or to fireside in the courtyard or to the pool in the time that remained to swim around. I’ve heard the nighttime referred to as TeddyCon After Dark. And though the con space closes, then the pool and eventually the bar, TC continues into the wee hours of the morning. (Yes … pun intended.)
And for a second night, I felt that same energy no matter where I roamed, no matter what task I was doing and no matter who was around. It was in those late hours that I found myself with time to engage in longer conversations. There was a cluster of three or four of us who would do just that, both in the courtyard area and then inside on the hallway couches.
Day Two would eventually slow to a trickle (buh-dum-bum!) and storybooks continued growing – all being nurtured by an atmosphere that was created by the attendees, maintained by their desire for everyone to have an unforgettable time and fueled by a most uncommon interest we all had in common – expressed through four letters … ABDL.
Or wait. Maybe the four letters really spelled LOVE.
VENDORS! Oh my blue Heaven, the vendors! Filling the room in the main hallway, some opened quite early and some stayed open late. I believe Lil Kink Boutique stayed open until midnight on one of the days. But from handmade items to hard-to-find accessories to ingenious creations to diapers and trinkets and treasures oh my!, the vendors did their part in utilizing every corner of the spaces provided – offering up new chapters to everyone’s storybook experiences.
By Saturday, we were in full-stream. (Yep. I went there again. LOL) My Saturday started with a cup of coffee I chugged down like it was a gallon of Turkey Hill Iced Tea – done so I could be quasi-articulate for The Daddy Panel which kicked off the classes that day.
I was able to find a few opportunities to poke my head into some of the other classes and what I saw were people asking a lot of questions that would have meaning for a great many other attendees as well. Throughout the entire weekend – whether the class themes were polyamory, munch hosting, humiliation, self-acceptance, roundtables, panels, lifestyles or emotional dealings, the presenters offered up a wealth of opinions and were well-prepared to answer challenging questions and lead meaningful discussions.
I know of at least two class topics for 2020 that were born from the class discussions in 2019. But I wasn’t at all of the classes and I know there will be more that surface.
(That’s the beauty of situations like that … when things grow from within.)
I also marveled over the creativity of the crafts and how one would seamlessly move right into the next. Four tables of people were devoted to the craft activities and it seemed like they were always packed.
But even as crafts and classes were going on, the littles area was also always packed – the ball pit always being filled with happy crinklers who had taken the Nestea plunge. The blocks, the Legos, the rice construction site – all had customers. As did Rocky the Elephant (the Texas Boys’ 2018 gift to TC) and the cradle (the Texas Boys’ 2019 gift to TC).
At 4pm, there was an enormous gathering in the con space to witness MommyKuri being turned into a cherry, chocolate and rainbow sprinkle covered sundae.
At 8pm, another enormous gathering formed in the con space for our raffle. This year, there were 55 items. Vendors, specific attendees and a few people who weren’t even in attendance donated all sorts of stuff for the raffle, ranging from diapers to dresses to toys to blocks to gift certificates and more.
Heading into the 3rd TC After Dark hours, the atmosphere still remained energized as everyone filled their evening with one final night of fun. Discussions in the courtyard around a campfire included some guitar playing. The couches in the hallways as well as the space in front of the couches were lined with people who were expanding their connections, still meeting new people and still filling the pages of their 2019 Storybook Experience.
In the bar, the mega-rave was on, the glow sticks accentuating the dancing and SaraKitten109 keeping the tunes going until well after 1am. Hula hoops twirled as lines of glow string covered ABDLers cut the rug. Even more people sat on the couches in the bar, engaging in discussions and taking in the scene.
Getting into the ……… early early morning hours of Sunday (Ya thought I was gonna go there again, didn’t ya? LOL), I walked the rounds and took out the final loads of the diaper bags.
And I could still feel the energy.
All of that led to Sunday. And in the few hours remaining, everyone shifted into activities that could include large amounts of peoples – the hallway couches now connecting into enormous discussions as everyone new time was now limited.
Shortly before noon, we gathered for the goodbyes and engaged in the traditional group hug. And then TeddyCon 2019 ended.
But in many ways, it wasn’t an end at all – rather … a beginning.
There were quite a few new people at TC 2019 to go along with the familiar faces. People of a sizable age range, of different ethnicities, of different races, of different genders, of different preferences, of different levels of consumption of Turkey Hill Iced Tea – all mixed into an ABDL salad.
And when mixed together like that, no one was different than anyone else. That was the moment in time when the greatest energy was felt … one more time … until we meet again.
And we will.
When I got home Monday evening, I thought again about that statement I heard the night before TC 2019 began: “I come here every year for a new storybook experience.”
You betcha. And there will be blank storybooks for 2020, waiting for you all and ready to be filled with new memories.
But until then, there are new friends you can continue to get to know. There are other events, holiday gatherings, munches (I have my next munch in 2 days!), seasons to come that will give you opportunities to fill new storybooks.
So keep being wonderful. And remember to Always Dream Big About Being Little.
Blessings to you all … my TC family.