Started in 2010 by a few dedicated members of the Blue Jackets social media community, the event that would later be known as "CannonFest" was intended to be a late-summer gathering of hockey fans starved for some puck talk.
It just so happened that Greg May (blogger at Full Mental Jackets) owns a few local restaurant franchises, and one located in Grandview turned out to be the ideal location. It was a great sight: in the dog days of summer, the entire room was filled with Blue Jackets jerseys, hats, t-shirts and other apparel -- and training camp was over a month away.
Fast forward to August 19, 2012: in the third and most recent installment of CannonFest, the event was the biggest and best yet. Co-organizers May, Matt Wagner (SB Nation's The Cannon blog) and Tom Fellrath (Dark Blue Jacket) expected such a large turnout that they used electronic ticketing to track the number of RSVPs, and they pushed it to the fire marshal's limit with over 300 people in attendance.
Say it with me one more time: middle of August. Virtually nothing going on in the hockey world. But over 300 Blue Jackets fans gathered to hang out, talk hockey and see new faces as well as those they've known long before. That's what makes the #CBJ community great, and Blue Jackets fans proved it once more this weekend.
This list is just a sampling of the CBJ blogs and bloggers represented at CannonFest: The Cannon, DKM Hockey, HashtagCBJ, The Union Blue, Cannon Report, HockeyBuzz, Ten Minute Misconduct, CBJProspects, Fire That Cannon, Full Mental Jackets, Strait Jackets and many more.
Another of the highlights in a great day at CannonFest came from Blue Jackets fan and talented video producer Tom Larrow (@Skraut_). He has created terrific highlight videos for CBJ fans at each edition of CannonFest, and this year's videos did not disappoint.
The first video, entitled "Dark Horses," looks back at the past season and introduces some new faces in the Blue Jackets organization.
The second video is a tribute to Blue Jackets fans, who as Larrow said "always have each other." It's titled "Who I Am":
Also, here are some tweets sent in yesterday from across the #CBJ community talking about CannonFest:
@Skraut_: So glad to have such an awesome event to share my videos #CannonFest and such awesome fans to share them with #CBJ
@johntkemp: #CannonFest = #CBJ twitter love fest. We have the best fans. I can say that unbiased. Ok, I can't, but we are pretty cool.
@wooten: congrats to @Skraut_ for killing it with his videos again & to all #CannonFest organizers. Great event. #JTB
@NatalieKTaylor: GREAT to see so many #CBJ Fans today at #CannonFest...loved meeting more of you & catching-up w/friends. #bestfansinhockey
@gregin120: A heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make #CannonFest another big success, especially YOU, the fans who came out. #CBJ #BestFansInNHL
Throughout the afternoon, there were various prize raffles including autographed jerseys, sticks, and other memorabilia. The Jacket Backers were in attendance, as well as the Arch City Army -- and both groups were enrolling new members during CannonFest.
Congrats to the organizers for a great day at CannonFest, and kudos to #CBJ fans for reminding the hockey world (yet again) that you are the best fans in the National Hockey League.