On Friday August 20th, 2004 ShowBizPizza.com along with Jenn and J (the CV staff) hosted the 1st ever convention for ShowBiz and Chuck E. Cheese fans - CheeseVention! The site of the event was the Danvers, MA CEC's. This store has a varied history - from once housing the scarce 'Family Album' show, to hosting several in-store events that happened nowhere else. Ultimately Danvers' greatest achievement was to create some of Chuck E.'s biggest fans who took it upon themselves to bring together fans from across the country. CV was an idealistic, adventuristic, and risky undertaking. In the end though, the results were positive and paved the way for future CheeseVentions!
All attendees were given a complimentary bag of free stuff for coming. There were several tables set up that displayed collectables and momentos from years past. The event was kicked off with a trivia competition and video showcase.
And to everyone's surprise, a special guest showed up - Aaron Fechter. He was on hand to talk about the beginnings of the Rock-afire Explosion and ShowBiz, the demise of CEI's relations with the company, and the future of the RAE.
Next it was off to a private location to finish off the event (due to some last minute alterations). The change was positive though, and the LIVE presentation of the event went off well. Costumed characters were on hand including Classic Chuck, Helen, Jasper, Munch, Billy Bob, and Looney Bird. The event lasted late into the night and was a blast. Many of us stayed in MA for the weekend and the days that followed extended the CV experience and were as fun as the event itself.
On Saturday J and Jenn took everyone on a 'CEC Crawl' of the area stores. That was quite surreal, having a group of fans all decked out in CEC/ShowBiz gear marching into store after store... talk about strength in numbers! It was a fun day filled with talk of CEC and really made the CV experience more personal and allowed fans to connect with one another.
On Sunday we all took a tour of historic Salem, MA and had a very relaxing morning of 'downtime' before heading home.
CheeseVention was another grand experiment that turned out to be quite fun and memorable. Those who took the effort to make the trip were treated to a great time and also took part in a little bit of history. For the first time fans took the leap from the online world into the 'real' world and were able to meet up and enjoy their obsession together.
For more information about CV1 check out Billy Bob's Bulletin #47. Also check out photos of the Danvers CEC Meet-up, CV Event Hall and other photos from the event.