By JOHN CASTLE
Photos by DJ CORDERO PHOTOGRAPHY
Vapin The Sun was my first major vape convention to attend — and my first to cover.
My original thought, when it came to gathering information for this story was how to handle it. After much contemplation, I decided to share the things I would want to know. But above all, what was it like? Who was there?
As I strolled the aisles in the Pavilion, it was easy to see familiar names — both national and local. I saw brands both national and local, from Suicide Bunny, Halo, and Cyclops Vapor to local Valley brands like Butt-Out, Bradley’s Brand, and Valor Vapor.
Additionally, at least one online distributor for multiple brands put in an appearance — Giant Vapes. Giant Vapes’ booth spanned a massive corner displaying the liquid lines under its umbrella, such as THRST, G2 Vapor, and Nerdcore.
On the hardware end of the consumer space, brands such as Hohmtech were on hand to show off the ultra-portable Skillet and ultra-powerful Wrecker G2 kits, while Fate Mods displayed their high-end Muertos mod.
Beyond the consumer-focused exhibitor presence, however, was the business- to-business presence at Vapin’ The Sun: Best Rate Merchant Services was on hand, as was Flawless Vape Distribution and the aforementioned Giant Vapes.
Vapin’ The Sun was dedicated entirely to the cause of vaping. From advocacy groups like Vaping Militia, NotBlowing-Smoke.org, and CASAA, to the primary beneficiary of the entire event, the Vape-A-Vet Project, Vapin’ The Sun 2016 was centered around supporting vaping and vapers, both current and future.
In over 16 years as a resident of the Valley of the Sun, I had never visited to the Old West town themed attraction known as Rawhide before.
The Rawhide Pavilion is a 50,000 square foot indoor space, and it was at full capacity shortly after the doors opened to the public. Fortunately, while the crowds were thick throughout the day, the venue also featured an additional 175,000 square feet of lush green lawn, complete with concessions including a full bar, and a concert stage.
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While the event’s primary purpose to support and strengthen the vapor industry and businesses, it also had a very natural purpose — fun! Fun and focus were both in good supply, as Vapin’ The Sun concluded with a free concert for attendees on the Pavilion lawn.
There’s nothing quite comparable to kicking back in the soft, cool grass on a warm February evening in Arizona with a cold brew, a delicious vape, and some smooth licks from Candlebox or the raprock slammin’ jams of Saliva. It was the perfect cap to the best experience in the perfect venue.
From the generosity of the exhibitors, to the intrigue of spotting a lovely young lady dressed like Mad Moxxi from Borderlands, to the friendliness of both vendors and attendees, to the 20 minutes I spent roaming the 1880s-era streets of Rawhide, Vapin’ The Sun has absolutely and irreversibly made me a vape convention junkie.
I hope to see you at Vapin’ The Sun 2017 — or, just maybe, sooner.