5th to 7th August 2011; Park Inn, Northampton, UK - Once again, Massive Events have put on a fantastic weekend for us UK Truebies! I can honestly say that I haven’t laughed so much in a long time! Joe Manganiello, Grant Bowler and Marshall Allman were wonderful guests and everybody really enjoyed meeting them. From what I’ve heard, the guys also had a great time themselves! So, what is the Bitten experience like?, I hear you ask.
Well, for me, the excitement began to set in on my long train journey from my home in Liverpool to Northampton. Having attended last year’s Bitten Con, I knew that Massive Events would have planned a fun-filled weekend for us all so the anticipation of what was to come was slightly overwhelming! When I eventually arrived at the hotel, I saw a lot of familiar faces from the previous Bitten Con and was glad to be able to catch up with them. One of the things I love about these Bitten conventions is the friendly and laid back atmosphere; you can make new friends really easily, especially if you’re attending alone. Somebody will always talk to you or take you under their wing for the weekend. Another thing that I also enjoy is receiving the registration pack, which this year included: my Con pass, programme, a 10×8 picture of each of the guests, a pen shaped like a blood filled syringe, 2 button badges and a sample copy of “Fallen” by Lauren Kate. Personally, I was thrilled with the syringe pen, it’s so unique!
Friday evening’s events began with a brief opening ceremony, where the event organisers explained the activities that they had planned for the weekend and re-state some of the Con rules. Joe, Grant and Marshall also made an appearance on stage to say a quick hello to everyone. All the guys got a great response from the audience but, obviously, Joe’s reaction was slightly louder!
After this short ceremony there was an exclusive drinks reception with the guys for attendees who had bought gold pass tickets. Normally, I only buy a standard ticket so I never get to experience this. However, I was lucky enough to win a competition that had been run by Massive Events and the prize included an invitation to the gold pass reception. It came as quite a shock as I never usually win anything! The reception was really easy going. I was placed with a small group of people at a table and each of the guests was brought to us in turn. We met with Marshall first, who was such a nice guy. Next it was Grant, who was equally as lovely, and then finally Joe. I was amazed at how tall he was as I stood next to him. I barely came up to his shoulder! They were all very chatty with us and were happy to answer any questions we had for them. Unfortunately, I can’t really share what was said by the guests online but I can say that they did have some funny and interesting stories to tell.
Once the reception was over it was time for the first themed party of the weekend, “Doorway to Faery”. Everybody really made an effort with their outfits. There were even a few men dressed as fairies! It was an interesting sight! The event hall had also been decorated with green streamers hanging from the ceiling and small trees on each of the tables. However, the highlight of the party was the mechanical unicorn at the back of the room, which provided us with much hilarity, especially during my numerous attempts to mount it!
After a night of crazy partying, Saturday morning began with autograph and photoshoot sessions with the guests. As my individual photoshoot sessions were due on Sunday, I got all my autographs done that morning. Another great thing about a Massive Event Con is that they allow personalised autographs, which, I think, gives the autograph a greater personal value. Also, as they signed, the guys would briefly chat with each of us, which was lovely.
Towards the end of the morning activities, the Con organisers offered us all the chance to have a group photoshoot with the guys. I was lucky enough to have two shots with them (one of them being the other part of my competition prize) with two different poses. I was stood between Joe and Grant, which was quite a funny sight as I’m really short and they’re both well over 6 foot! After my regular posed shot, I asked them to just do something fun for the second shot, which turned out to be my favourite shot of the whole shoot. (Photos are below.)
Once we got the morning activities and lunch out of the way, the afternoon kicked off with the individual guest talks, which were all really entertaining and interesting. What surprised us all, though, was how naturally funny Grant is. By the end of his talk, I think his popularity amongst the attendees had grown immensely! I really wish I could share what was said at these talks but, like I said before, I am unable to repeat what they say online.
When their talks were over, Grant and Marshall returned to the hall to take part in a quiz. Their roles were to be team captains, with two attendees each to help them answer questions. Grant’s team decided to call themselves the “F You Crew” whilst Marshall’s team chose the “F’ing Pitbulls”. The quiz itself is made up of team rounds and audience participation rounds. The funniest of these rounds is the acting round, where the two attendee team members have to act out a scene from a certain episode for the audience to guess the episode. For one of their scenes, Marshall’s team needed a third person so Marshall jumped in and took on the role of Sookie, complete with jutting hip and twirling his imaginary long hair! He was born for the role!
The afternoon’s events concluded with an auction. There were lots of signed items, convention banners and even the guys’ chairs being auctioned off. However, the biggest auction lot was a chance for two people to have dinner with the guys that night, which was very popular and had a winning bid of around £300 ($553)! Lucky ladies!
Saturday night’s party theme was “Fangtasia”. The “Fangtasia” night at last year’s Con was so popular that the organisers decided to host it again this year. Once again, we had the fantastic pole dancers back doing amazingly athletic movements up and down their poles. There were also casino tables and karaoke out in the bar area, which I decided to avoid at all costs! Better to sit in a dark room watching pole dancers anyway! Like the “Fairy” night, everybody really upped their game with their outfits. Lots of PVC and bustiers on parade, even Talbot made an appearance, albeit in his glass jar! As the evening got underway, Joe, Grant and Marshall came down to mingle with us all for a while. I was so enthralled watching the pole dancers that I hadn’t even noticed them sit at my table! It was a nice surprise, though, when I eventually turned to get my drink and became aware of them! They seemed to be enjoying themselves though.
Sunday morning was quite sedate, with a lot of bleary eyed, tired looking people waiting around for the next lot of autograph and photoshoot sessions. Luckily, my bleary eyes managed to disappear in time for my photographs! I went for a hugging pose with Joe and Grant and a normal standing pose with Marshall, purely for the novelty of standing next to someone who didn’t tower over me! The pictures turned out really well, thanks to the amazing photographic skills of Malcolm, the Con photographer. He always manages to make everyone look good!
After lunch came another lot of individual talks and the final group talk. Once again, Grant had the entire room in fits of laughter with his funny anecdotes and witty one-liners. The laughter continued into the group talk as Joe and Marshall also began to show their humorous side.Marshall impressed us all with his “shapeshifter” rap, accompanied by Joe on Beat Box! Hidden talents, eh? Very impressive! As the afternoon drew to a close, all the guys got a great response from us all, although Grant’s response now equalled Joe’s! The guys themselves all said that they had had a blast at the Con and would love to do it again in the future.
The final party of the weekend was the “Lou Pine’s” themed night. This was a much smaller party compared to the previous two and was restricted to just the bar area. A lot of people had gone home during the afternoon due to work commitments the next day but there were still a good number of people ready to party right to the end. Grant even made an appearance and chatted with people, even allowing posed photographs. I believe he stayed with everyone right through until the end of the night, unlike me, who just couldn’t take the pace after two nights of partying! It was a fun night though.
Overall, the Bitten 2 weekend was a huge success and I’m really looking forward to Bitten 3 next year. Joe, Grant and Marshall were fantastic guests and I can’t say enough positive things about them! They really made my weekend so enjoyable. My biggest thanks of the weekend, though, has to go to Massive Events who have, once again, put on an amazing Con. They really do put a lot of time and effort into producing such a high quality event, which is definitely not to be missed!