If you missed part one, read it here.
Something else Mrs. Duncan and I did at this Flea was to volunteer with the NELA folks. We had a free slot in the middle of the day Saturday and thought it would be a good idea to give back. We also had some friends who volunteered last year and met some nice people. We wound up helping out at the main check in tables where ID’s are checked against the registration list, Tyvek attendee wristbands are distributed along with event programs, etc. We were handing out programs and maps as well as answering the ‘Do you know where thusandsuch is?’ questions.
The people watching was absolutely amazing between those coming to the table and the ones boarding the elevators right across from us. As the premiere fetish event in the area, it attracted folks from all over the spectrum. Basic BDSM players, leather enthusiasts, cross dressers, littles, furries, etc, etc were all represented. Even though this was a hotel takeover, there were some non-kinky people there. One group was airline crews. They had some interesting faces when looking at all the interesting folks around them, but generally seemed more than happy just to go up to their rooms. The hotel was close to the airport and they must have some rooms contracted with the airlines. One couple in their late 60’s was getting on the elevator and we felt badly for them that this poor vanilla couple got booked here by mistake. What must the staff have been thinking? Our concerns turned out to be unfounded, however, when they were joined by their friend in a latex leisure suit who planted passionate kisses on both the man and woman. Ah, the Flea…
Speaking of people watching, I just have to make note of the paid personnel. The hotel staff was great and hospitable. They were entirely professional even when directing the man in the leather dog mask/hood to the men’s room. Surprisingly, the folks who seemed most flustered were the Police officers. There was always one in the lobby standing there for security (it must be a crowd control ordinance or something). You would expect these hardened officers of the law to be unflappable, but I swear, by the end of their shifts, more than one of them had this odd look on their face and their head looked like it was going to pop.
The Flea also serves a community service and outreach function. There is free HIV and hepatitis testing along with community tables. There are tables given to local groups. NELA had a table, but so did NEDS (the New England Dungeon Society). A couple of local clubs/venues were represented as well as educational and advocacy groups. As noted in a prior post, Mrs. Duncan is a healthcare professional and one group had educational programs specifically aimed at helping healthcare providers understand the special needs of the sexually adventurous. Educating our doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers for the win, Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health! (A month or two after the Flea, Mrs. Duncan took a class there and loved it. A month or two after that, The Swingset had the founder and director of the center, Megan Andellou, on).
As noted in the last post, the Flea really started as a collection of vendors. The other components were added on. This Flea did not disappoint in the shopping area. The grand ballroom of the hotel was filled with vendors along with a smaller ballroom and the rooms on the first floor. There was everything from run of the mill adult toys to BDSM accessories, to people specializing in all things leather to shoes, canes, custom blown violet wand ends, erotica, kilts and corsets. We did not have a specific shopping list in mind outside of a new corset for Mrs. Duncan (her favorite corset vendor was going to be there). In addition, two dear friends of ours were working on opening a club and we were going to help them scope out club furniture and accessories. The corset was managed along with some rope with which to practice our new talents. I got a new kilt and we picked up a few miscellaneous toys and accessories. The neatest thing we got was a pair of rabbit gloves with some metal tips (think banjo picks) embedded in the ends. They allow you to rub your partner down with the soft smooth fur, but with an arching of the fingers, send shivers all over them with the metal tips. Great sensation play devices.
The Flea is partially sponsored by the club we frequent and they, of course, put on special parties for the event both Friday and Saturday night. They were a blast and a good time was had by all. We went home after the Saturday party and put our new rope to work. After getting charged up all day at the Flea and all the play at the party, we had a blast with each other to finish off the night. There were parties also thrown by many other organizations and private ones as well. When the kinksters are in town, the fun flags fly.
What a whirlwind flea! We had a great time, met some wonderful folks and learned a lot too. Our wallets are a bit lighter, but we got good deals on a lot of neat toys. We cannot wait until the next opportunity to play with them (we already have a bit). Taking off the black rings and Tyvek wrist bands in the car, I broke into laughter. Mrs. Duncan gave me a funny look and then realized why I was pointing at her neck. I guess it is a good Flea when you are half way home before you notice your collar is still on.