Parents at VidCon snap photos of their kids, hide out in ‘parents’ lounge’
Ron Roza used to travel the world to follow his idol, Bruce Springsteen. Now, he is traveling to follow his daughters’ idol: Joey Graceffa.
Graceffa is a YouTube star, one of hundreds at the sixth annual VidCon conference held at the Anaheim Convention Center. An estimated 20,000 fans, including Roza’s 12- and 10-year-old daughters, flocked to the three-day event to catch panels featuring YouTube stars and workshops on becoming an online celebrity.
“This is the new wave,” Roza, a Montreal resident, said. “For me it was Bruce, for them it is Joey.”
Armed with a camera, Roza -- wearing a name tag with “dad” around his neck -- stood on the sidelines, near Graceffa, as his daughters waited their turn in line to get his autograph in the signing room of the convention center.
“While they were waiting in line, I had to bring them food, and take the swag bags back to the hotel,” Roza said. “Now they are all ready and I have marching orders to get the best photo possible.”
Welcome to the life of the parents at VidCon. As their kids scurried from panel to panel to meet their favorite stars, their parents followed closely behind, snapping pictures and attempting to blend in.
Nearby, Caterina Trentadue patted her daughter Alyssa on the back as she cried.
“She just met Joey. That’s her idol,” Trentadue said. “It’s important to be here for the experience for them. It’s all for the kids.”
Other parents, seeking shelter from the hoards of screaming fans, escaped at the “Parents’ Lounge.” Hidden behind a wall of white curtains, the lounge, hosted by Kia, featured free Wi-Fi, bean bags, couches and ottomans.
“It’s nice and quiet and cold,” said Charles Ross, of Riverside. Ross’ daughters, ages 13 and 18, left their dad behind at the lounge. Their trip to VidCon was a Christmas gift.
“We’ve messaged,” he said pointing to his cellphone. “They know where I am. They said, ‘Oh dad, don’t worry about us.’”
Ross, who was ironically passing time by watching YouTube videos on his laptop, said the family left their home at 4 a.m. to get to VidCon “early for the opening ceremony and all that.”
He said the online world makes him feel “like I’m from another dimension.”
“It’s funny, I should know these people -- Tabascus or something like that? I can’t get his name right. And that other guy,” he said, trying to list his daughters’ favorite digital stars.
Meanwhile, Dawn Jacobs, a mom from Shadow Hills area of Los Angeles, nursed an ice coffee while resting her feet on an ottoman.
“I just woke up from a nap, so I’m good,” she said. Her daughter, 13, was wandering with her two 15-year-old friends.
Though Jacobs was taking a break, she said she plans on meeting up with the teens in the signing room.
“I’m going to stand in line with my daughter so she can get two sets of autographs from her favorite stars,” Jacobs said. “They need a few more charging stations here at the lounge but I’m really happy it exists.”
And what do kids think about the hovering parents?
“It’s fine having them here,” said 15-year-old Kira Diaz, who was visiting her parents in the lounge. “They somewhat get our world.”
For more news on the entertainment industry, follow me @saba_h
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