What a pleasant surprise to read about the recent Vape Mania Con in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. One expected, given the location, a strong presence, maybe even sponsorship, by the likes of Blu and Vuse, the cigalike vaping products pedaled by local tobacco companies Lorillard and Reynolds, now joined in unholy wedlock. What a pleasure to find, instead, a people's vaping festival, complete with mods and e-liquids galore, and a cloud competition with cheering fans. Not a hint of Big Tobacco presence.
For your information, gentle reader, in case the name of the city didn't give it away, this con was held under the very nose of Big Tobacco, in the “triad cities” of tobacco state North Carolina, where both Lorillard and RJ Reynolds are headquartered. But the con was all about vaping tank-vapor systems and mods, producing clouds Blu and Vuse couldn't touch in a million years.
There was apparently no coverage of the event in the local press. One wonders whether any influential local businesses have a voice in controlling media agendas.
The event was held this past weekend, August 29-31, in the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, with over 70 vendor booths. The attendees were a happy, rowdy crowd. The after event party at Ziggy's Bar down the street has been a lively event each evening, and is reportedly still going on as of this writing.
The event was sponsored by Freeze Winfrey and Da Mooch of the Triad Vaping Association (TVA). One attendee remarked: “Upon arrival at the convention center, I wasn't sure what floor it was being held on. Then I looked down at what appeared to be the basement of the building and all I saw was fog. I knew this had to be it. Only a large number of vapers in an enclosed space could generate such a cloud. Much thanks to Freeze, Mooch, and the TVA for hosting it, and bringing such an event to North Carolina.”
Guests did not go home empty handed or unhappy. Another attendee wrote: “Kicked ass. Tasted some amazing juices. Got tons of samples. Picked up a nice mod.” Said another: “VapeMania '14 was amazing! Couldn't make it to day two, but Friday was awesome! Would love to see more “local” events like this. Party at Ziggy's was epic. I may have gone a little too heavy on the drinks, but epic none-the-less. Thanks Y'all!” “That was the cloudiest place I have ever been,” chimed in yet another.
The main event was the arm-wrestling competition, moderated by Freeze and Mooch (assisted by a lovely young lady in cutoff jeans, short miniskirt length), in which reigning champion Krueger was challenged by Grimm Green, cheered on by enthusiastic athletic supporters. The prize was a belt that looked very much like something offered by the World Wrestling Federation. Grimm Green emerged as the new champion, and walked off with the embossed gold belt.
All in all, the event was a clear victory for people's vaping, right in the belly of the Big Tobacco beast.
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