What happens at a vape meet? I get that question quite a lot. Oddly enough, it’s a question I couldn’t really answer from experience until very recently. Due to having a lot of real-world obligations outside my humble little presence on the internet, I don’t have a lot of free time to travel to any of the large regional meets. Fortunately, my local vapers’ group recently held an event I was able to attend. Now I can explain the process with a little more first-hand experience.
The meet I attended was put together by the Smoky Mountain Vapers. This is a group of vapers from East Tennessee in the Knoxville and Smoky Mountain area. Like most groups, it’s more or less a loose association of like-minded vapers.
I was fortunate as this meet up happened to be particularly large. I believe the final count was around 120 attendees ranging from absolute newbies to seasoned pros and internet personalities like Dimitris, the Vapin’ Greek of Vape Team fame.
As for venue, this event was held at a local bar and grill. It seems that many meets take place at establishments similar to this one as well as places like hotel conference rooms. Let’s start at the beginning and walk through the meet to put things into perspective.
In this case, the meetup was held on the patio (though it spilled into the main dining room as well.) SMV had a table set up at the patio entrance where you could meet a couple of the organizers, get a name tag and of course, the raffle ticket. Most of these meets have door prizes, and this was no exception. More about the prizes in a bit.
Once you pass through the door and into the patio area, there was an information table. This table was manned (personed?) by more volunteers for the group. The idea here was to answer questions about vaping in general, a great resource to new people and those interested in taking the plunge. SMV did a fantastic job with the table and had a number of technologies on display from basic kits to more advanced devices, including some of the products used on reviews on this site like the V4L Handle.
Across from the information table is where the merchants set up shop. Meets will often attract vendors who are based nearby (and some that drove quite a distance to show up) who will setup tables with their wares for purchase. It’s also a good way to see some of this stuff first-hand to get a feel for some of this gear before you plunk down your hard-earned cash.
Another nice try before you buy feature is the e-liquid sampling station. Here, you’ll find a selection of e-liquids offered up by vendors and members for you to try out and see what you like. In addition to the sampling station, there was also the e-liquid trading station.
In this case, it was operated more on the take a penny, leave a penny method. Participants dropped off bottles of e-liquid and could pick up other bottles to check out. From what I could tell there was more leaving than taking going on. I got rid of my stash of e-liquids I wasn’t overly fond of. Unfortunately, I never made it back around to take anything home with me.
Eventually, I set up shop across from the liquid trading table with a 777 e-hookah (review coming soon.) This thing was large, so I figured I could attract attention and get to talk with as many folks as possible. Indeed that was the case. And that’s really the best part of these meets.
Not only is it a chance to put faces to the online names I see in my travels, but I got to meet a ton of other people as well. There were people from all over, not just the immediate area. I was only at the meeting for a short time, but I talked to so many people, and even learned a thing or two. Apparently my reputation for being bad at building coils precedes me as someone gave me a detailed lesson on coil building.
There were also many individuals there who weren’t quite at the building coil level. In fact, there were several current smokers who stopped by (a large group of vapors tends to attract curiosity.) Several expressed an interest in vaping and starter kits came out of the woodwork. Vendors and attendees alike provided starter kits to introduce those people to electronic cigarettes. Whenever someone decided to take up vaping, the crowd would cheer. Talk about encouragement.
Of course, that wasn’t the only cheering going on. There was a lot of that when it was time for prizes. There were several giveaways during the course of the meet. Beyond the main door prizes, there were also other games and things happening with prizes as well. Prizes tend to be pretty nice at these events. Generally suppliers will contribute prizes to the meets and usually the good stuff. One of the prizes at this meet was the Innokin iTaste SVD. Even I don’t have a release version of that yet, so I’m just a little jealous. You can read my review of the iClear 30 cartomizer that comes with them while you wait.
Sadly, I had to leave early so I didn’t get a chance to meet everyone at this particular event. This event was fairly large for a local meet. Even if your local meets aren’t quite as big, I still recommend visiting one if you get the chance.
Where can I find a local meet?
To attend a meet, you have to find one in your area. Fortunately, there is a directory that attempts to list as many vapemeets as possible. VapeMeetUp.com has an interactive map as well as a calendar listing meets. It’s up to groups to submit their meets, so not all meets may be in the list.
You’ll have to do a little detective work to find a local group if they’re not listed in a directory. There’s generally a couple of places these groups tend to congregate online: Facebook and forums. Try searching for Facebook groups with your location name and the word Vapers (the groups almost always have the word vapers in their name). Barring that, you could always check out the ECF which has subforums for various locales listed there.
Good luck, and maybe one day I’ll see you at the next vape meet!