VapeMania 2016 (a few thoughts…)

So another TVA event has come and gone.  Two weeks ago, the event known as VapeMania officially sealed the deal and closed out with a bang.  There is still quite a bit of discussion about how the event went, and what went good and bad given so many things going on at the time…

Let’s flashback to the Monday before the event.  The news media provided some pretty wide coverage of the great fuel panic of 2016.  In short, a pipeline burst in Arkansas which led to a huge shortage here in the southeast.  People filled up their cars and by Monday afternoon, most gas stations were completely out of fuel. This led a lot of people, including myself, to debate on whether or not I wanted to risk my tank of gas versus the unknown on whether I would be able to fill back up again during or after the event.

The very next day, a shooting occurred in Charlotte.  Without going into great detail and speculation, it became the center of attention across the country.  Actually, that focus ended up becoming less about the shooting and more about the riots the very next night.  Facebook posts reassured everyone that the riots were about 20 minutes away from the event center.  Nonetheless, there were some vendors that backed out.  As a result of the previous two events, several vapers were also reluctant to make the trip.

Originally I had planned on making the trip for 4 days and 3 nights to take in all the sights and sounds that only TVA can bring.  For personal reasons, in addition to the items I mentioned above, I decided to make a day trip instead.  The drive itself was about 2 hours, which wasn’t too terrible.  After I left my house, however, a massive headache was in the beginning stages and that would ultimately cut my trip short.

I got to the event center right at 11am, and I was under the impression that VIP would be allowed at 11.  Unfortunately, I got my time wrong and wasn’t allowed in until noon.  Still, though, having the extra time made things a little more enjoyable even without the massive numbers that have shown up to previous events.  I always like to take my time with getting to know the vendors and find the particular ones that I am familiar with so I can get a few minutes to say “Hey” rather than waiting my turn.

The venue is huge in comparison to the center used a year ago in Winston-Salem for the last VapeMania.  I am glad to see companies able to expand to a full sized booth with massive banners to make it clear who’s booth this is through the thick white plumes.  One thing I noticed is that the claimed booth number was significantly smaller than was used for VaperSlam in March.  Part of this might be the week’s events, but a lot of vendors may have decided to not attempt a trade show with the FDA regulations.  The large wooden tables throughout the arena were replaced with a staging area with chairs lined up for public speakers.  More on that coming soon….

The solution to “free samples” was a book you could purchase for $5 that would allow sampling of up to 10 juices at each booth.  In my opinion, well worth the price!!  I think my only minor gripe is that the people who paid extra for VIP should have had one of these in their bags.  Regardless, I am okay with paying an extra $5 to support the event.

All in all, I think that Mooch and Freeze put together a hell of an awesome show.  Their innovative ideas created something that was controlled and just as vibrant as ever.  Given the circumstances, the numbers could have been much larger.  I think after the dust settles from the recent lawsuit, we should see something special with the next VaperSlam in April.

Until next time, guys, vape on…


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