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FFF #55 Feasibility/Planning Meeting

While, very sadly, there will be no physical Fetish Fair Fleamarket #55 this summer, we have been exploring ways to have a virtual event.

There will be a meeting next Tuesday night, June 16, 2020 at 7:00 PM to discuss information gathered to date and a path forward.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation this will be a virtual meeting only. Online and telephone information will be provided 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Please join us!!

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Important Information about the Fetish Fair Fleamarket®

Friends,

We are in very interesting, challenging, and even scary, times right now.  The world is upside-down, turned around, and very much on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We know that many folks are facing uncertainty about very basic needs such as food, work, and housing, while others are working diligently on the front lines. Please know that we, too, are working through our own challenges and situations, but are very much thinking of all of you during these times and we have two important announcements regarding the Fetish Fair Fleamarket®.

First, out of concern and consideration for potential attendees, our vendors, and our venue, on Wednesday, April 22, the NELA Board voted to cancel the in-person Fetish Fair Fleamarket® #55 (Summer Flea). However, we are exploring options for hosting a virtual Flea event. We did not come to this decision lightly, but with ongoing uncertainty due to government and CDC recommendations around public gatherings and social distancing, combined with our desire to be fair and respectful of our venue, our vendors and presenters, and concern about the safety of our community members, we felt that this was the right decision to make at this time. We feel that switching to a virtual format for FFF 55 would provide an opportunity to support our community, vendors, and presenters while also addressing concerns. It is our hope that we will be able to provide an event – albeit virtual –for folks to look forward to in these uncertain times.  If you or anyone you know has experience in hosting virtual events and would be open to sharing that with us, or are interested in helping with Virtual Flea 55 in any way, please reach out to chair@nelaonline.org.

Our second announcement is in regard to our contract with the Crowne Plaza, which has been home to the Winter Flea for the past several years. The contract with the venue contained clause that allowed either party – NELA or the Crowne – to cancel the contract without cause within 30 days of the close of the previous event.  Approximately three weeks after the 2020 Winter Flea, we had a meeting with Crowne management and event staff to review the event.  We talked about how this year’s attendance was down, some of the reasons for it, the impact on the event – both for NELA and the hotel – as well as some changes we wanted to implement moving forward to ensure an excellent event for both of us on a variety of levels.  Some of these changes were going to be incorporated into the contract and we received the revised contract six days after the meeting with the Crowne.  While we were still reviewing the revised contract with our attorney, less than 24 hours later and on the last day of that 30-day window, we received an email from the Crowne terminating our contract.

The Crowne Plaza-Warwick and her sister property, the Holiday Inn Express, were both independently owned and operated by a single individual. Last year, when the owner sadly passed away, a Board of Directors was appointed in charge of the properties. We were told that the new Board simply wished to move in a different direction with their business.  Our meeting with the venue just the week prior had been positive and did not give us any impression that there would be any change; the venue had always expressed their love of us and our event. Receiving the cancellation email just 24-hours after receiving the revised contract completely blindsided us.  We have reached out to the venue several times to have further conversation around their decision, but these events took place just as the COVID-19 situation was beginning to peak and folks were being asked to work from home.  As such, we have not been able to have that conversation with them to date.

The result remains the same – we are again looking for a home for the Winter Flea.  We’ve already begun looking at other properties with which we’re familiar and believe would be interested in hosting our event.  This process has, thus far, included hotels that have served as the previous and current home of the Summer Flea, as well as engaging networking resources both within and outside of the kink community.  If you’re interested in assisting with the search or have suggestions, please email chair@nelaonline.org.

As a community, we have a history of facing adversity.  This is not new to us.  That is why NELA’s mission to create a safer space in the world for the BDSM/kink/leather/fetish community through education, advocacy, and charitable giving is an ongoing one.  Yes, running into these obstacles and setbacks can be frustrating and even disheartening; but instead, let’s choose to look at this as an opportunity to expand our network and educate even more folks.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.  And don’t forget to keep calm and kink on.

Sincerely,
Sleepy and the NELA Board of Directors

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Open Call – ConChair for Fetish Fair Fleamarket® #55 and #56

Wait, what?  Yes, we’ve not quite finished closing the books on FFF54 and we’re looking ahead to the upcoming Fetish Fair Fleamarket® #55 (Summer 2020) and #56 (February 2021) already.

We seek folks who are interested in learning what goes in to running the Flea and stepping up to the plate. If you don’t want to go it alone or want to partner with someone who has experience, we would love to talk with you, too!

A potential ConChair will have previously run an event/convention and/or possess excellent organizational skills, understand working with a budget, multitasking, juggling competing priorities, good interpersonal skills and are excellent at herding cats.

If interested, curious, or intrigued, please email chair@nelaonline.org no later than March 15th with your contact info and relevant skills for us to review.

We hope to hear from you!

Best regards,
SleepyGreenEyes and the NELA Board of Directors

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FFF #54 Thank you for a great event!

Well folks, Fetish Fair Fleamarket® #54 drew to a close about 48 hours ago and we want to take a few moments to thank everyone for making this yet another successful event! Collectively, there were thousands of hours of preparation and work that went into putting on this Flea.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be collecting and reviewing feedback and data from the event as a way to make future Fleas even better.

First, to our attendees and guests, we are so happy and thankful that you came out to have fun; took the opportunity to learn about so many topics from consent and negotiation to beginning skill sets to more advanced play tactics; buy fun toys and implements for a variety of interests; and connect with a number of community support groups and networks to be resources for you year round.

Words cannot express the gratitude to our Operations, Medical and Emotional Support Care (MECS), Programming Logistics, Vendor and Presenter Neutrals, Pendragon security, Warwick PD details, Coil Registration, and Unity NH teams for their extraordinary efforts put into making the Flea run smoothly and safely – you are all beyond amazing.

To our dozens of vendors and presenters, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for  compiling amazing program content to provide various levels of education to the community new and old and bringing amazing, quality and sexy wares to folks to buy for their exploration and pleasure.  A huge round of applause to the folks and groups who put together the evening events which added another level of excitement, sexiness, and fun to the Flea.

Last but certainly not least…there is not enough thanks that we can express and give to the over 400 volunteers who sacrificed their time and energy to load vendors in and out, introduce presenters, monitor the doors and hallways, put on wristbands, work the swag table, assist with accessibility questions and so much more.  Additionally, we express our gratitude to that the many folks who spent  hours individually ranging from dozens to hundreds in helping to organize helping to organize and arrange the outstanding programming and events, coordinate the wonderful vendors, schedule behind-the-scenes logistics and training to make the Flea safer, and uphold its legacy as the exceptional kink event it is known to be.

With enormous gratitude…
Humbly and sincerely yours,
Sleepy and the NELA Board of Directors

SleepyGreenEyes
Chair, New England Leather Alliance
ConChair, Fetish Fair Fleamarket® #54

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FFF #54 – Last Minute Details and Updates!!

Hey Folks – It’s time for the Flea!!!

As many of you know, the Crowne underwent extensive renovations over this past year.  In fact, there are still last minute finishes taking place as we set up today!

First, we want to let you know that the Medical and Emotional Care Support team HQ has moved from the lobby to Room 118.  This is because the space we intended to use is still occupied by the construction company as they finish up renovations.

Second, we’re hearing rumors that there is an email making the rounds that we do not have any sort of Medical and Emotional Care Support (MECS) at our event, that we’re letting known abusers into the event and other unpleasantries.  As we detailed in a post at the end of January and as you can probably see from the first paragraph, our MECS team (RNs, EMT, First aid, CPR certified, DV trained, survivor support/disclosure training, some social work experience, etc.)  is very much in place and ready to help as needed.  We are checking IDs to both verify age and enforce our No Entry list.

We’re excited to see everyone this weekend, looking forward to having lots of fun with the progam schedule and vendors and having another great Flea!!

See you all very soon!!

Best,
Sleepy

Chair, New England Leather Alliance
ConChair, Fetish Fair Fleamarket 54