Here’s what it’s like to attend YouTube’s VidCon — a digital-themed paradise for 20,000 teenagers

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YouTuber Meghan Camarena (right) makes funny faces with a fan at VidCon. Melia Robinson/Business Insider

VidCon, YouTube’s annual convention that unites the stars with thousands of teenaged fans, is like a boy-band concert on acid.

Flocks of shrieking teeny-boppers and their reluctant parents descended on Anaheim, California, for the chance to pose for selfies with their favourite internet celebrities, attend workshops on digital content creation, meet people their age, and pose for more selfies.

This year, more than 20,000 attendees are expected at the three-day conference.

After spending Friday at the convention, I quickly realised I stepped into a teenage-dream straight out of Katy Perry’s cupcake-filled consciousness. Here’s what it was like.

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[slide
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title=”The Anaheim Convention Center transforms into a haven for teenage boys and girls (but mostly girls) — like the mall, summer camp, and a teeny-bopper concert rolled into one.”
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title=”On registration day, attendees received these drawstring bags filled with stickers, pins, Mad Libs, and coupons for the stars’ merchandising websites.”
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permalink=”/#in-the-morning-girls-stretched-on-the-pavement-outside-the-convention-center-during-a-free-pilates-session-3″
title=”In the morning, girls stretched on the pavement outside the convention center during a free pilates session.”
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title=”YouTuber Casey Ho, whose ‘blogilates’ channel has more than two million subscribers, led the class with her usual spunk.”
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title=”By 10 a.m., lines 20-people-deep formed inside the lobby for the opportunity to snap a photo with a star.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-brave-fan-asked-youtuber-and-singer-songwriter-reed-deming-to-do-the-prom-pose-new-profile-picture-check-6″
title=”This brave fan asked YouTuber and singer-songwriter Reed Deming to do ‘the prom pose.’ New profile picture, check!”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55b2e4bb2acae7b7188b9b41/image.jpg”
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permalink=”/#girls-made-their-marks-on-epic-reads-autograph-wall-7″
title=”Girls made their marks on Epic Reads’ autograph wall.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#time-to-hit-the-showroom-floor-like-any-convention-it-was-filled-with-booths-and-interactive-exhibits-8″
title=”Time to hit the showroom floor. Like any convention, it was filled with booths and interactive exhibits.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#instagram-had-an-emoji-themed-ball-pit-to-celebrate-its-new-emoji-hashtag-feature-9″
title=”Instagram had an Emoji-themed ball pit to celebrate its new Emoji hashtag feature.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#nickelodeon-casting-executives-held-minute-long-auditions-in-this-glass-walled-booth-intimidating-111111110″
title=”Nickelodeon casting executives held minute-long auditions in this glass-walled booth. Intimidating.”
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[slide
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title=”Truly, Taco Bell had the coolest booth at VidCon. Its exhibit resembled a board game, with stations that prompted you to take pictures with props made famous by YouTubers.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55b2e4d32acae7c23f8b76e2/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#the-game-culminated-in-a-bracelet-making-station-participants-stamped-letters-onto-a-piece-of-metal-and-strung-it-on-a-cord-111111112″
title=”The game culminated in a bracelet-making station. Participants stamped letters onto a piece of metal and strung it on a cord.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#it-was-a-big-hit-111111113″
title=”It was a big hit.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55b2e4c82acae7c7018b9dec/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#jimmy-kimmels-sidekick-guillermo-manned-the-nbc-booth-11114″
title=”Jimmy Kimmel’s sidekick Guillermo manned the NBC booth.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55b2e4e02acae72d5f8b95bb/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#of-course-it-wouldnt-be-vidcon-without-the-youtube-stars-some-attendees-spent-a-majority-of-their-time-in-line-for-meet-ups-with-their-favorite-internet-personalities-115″
title=”Of course, it wouldn’t be VidCon without the YouTube stars. Some attendees spent a majority of their time in line for meet-ups with their favourite internet personalities.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#meghan-camarena-also-known-by-her-youtuber-name-strawburry17-drew-a-massive-crowd-of-teen-girls-1116″
title=”Meghan Camarena, also known by her YouTuber name Strawburry17, drew a massive crowd of teen girls.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55b2e4d42acae70f008b9f4f/image.jpg”
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title=”Nothing I saw topped the mob that swarmed Vine star Matt Espinosa. He attempted to walk around the showroom floor in an old-man disguise, but was quickly discovered by fans, who then chased him out the door.”
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permalink=”/#once-you-meet-the-stars-you-can-buy-their-merch-11118″
title=”Once you meet the stars, you can buy their merch.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55b2e4d22acae716008b9f8b/image.jpg”
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permalink=”/#at-the-back-of-the-showroom-celebrities-took-to-the-stage-for-interviews-and-amas-it-was-easy-to-tell-when-someone-walked-on-because-the-roaring-fans-echoed-throughout-the-showroom-119″
title=”At the back of the showroom, celebrities took to the stage for interviews and AMAs. It was easy to tell when someone walked on, because the roaring fans echoed throughout the showroom.”
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permalink=”/#cell-phones-appeared-to-be-an-extension-of-every-girls-arm-because-what-happens-at-vidcon-stays-on-the-internet-forever-220″
title=”Cell phones appeared to be an extension of every girl’s arm. Because what happens at VidCon, stays on the internet forever.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55b2e4db2acae74c2f8b780f/image.jpg”
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permalink=”/#well-continue-to-update-this-slideshow-throughout-the-weekend-as-we-discover-more-cool-things-to-do-at-vidcon–22221″
title=”We’ll continue to update this slideshow throughout the weekend as we discover more cool things to do at VidCon …”
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[/slideshow]