The event is huge, really. They take over the entire Crowne Plaza complex in Warwick, Rhode Island. Only one couple in our group had a room at the Crowne Plaza, the rest of us stayed a few miles away in another hotel. We would prefer to be in the host hotel next time, as it just would make it easier for access to the vendor areas, storing stuff, a little less running around. There were 14 presentation areas with something going on at all times during the entire weekend. We had made a list of classes we wanted to take, but we ended up only going to four! We had to skip some classes in order to go through the vendor areas and lunch took much, much longer than we had anticipated. But the classes we did go to were terrific:
- Basic Violet Wands by Lady Shimla
- Mapping your D/s Archetype by Midori (more on this in another entry)
- Let’s Talk Hogties by Murphy Blue
- The Exquisite Whip: Amazing Hand-on Flogging Training by Midori
We didn’t go to the Dungeon parties at the Flea, our friends had private parties lined up for our group, so i cannot comment on what was held at the Crowne Plaza.
While the event was great, it appears that the Flea has really outgrown the space at the Crowne Plaza. Half of the vendor fair is in individual rooms, which are difficult to access due to a crowded hallway and being in hotel rooms–sometimes it was just impossible to get into a vendor room. i like to know at a glance what a vendor has and you can’t do this from the hallway, you have to walk in and see what they have. The entry into the rooms was a real bottleneck due to this. Some classes were held in rooms, too. This really limited the number of people who could attend due to the size of the room, and on Sunday, the elevators were busy with people checking out and we couldn’t get to the class on time (no one could find the stairs!) and we were denied access to a class we really wanted to go to.
We will go back if our friends are planning to go again next year. We will try our darnedest to get a room at the event, plan on eating at the concession area rather than the restaurant in order to save time, and plan time for vendor shopping. It is nice to get a perspective of things on the east coast, see different instructors and vendors we might not see in the Pacific Northwest.
But, the best part was seeing our friends again and spending time with them!