BronyCon 2019: First and Last

It’s sad to say that my first official BronyCon was it’s last. I was able to make one of the earlier conventions when still hosted our of Secaucus, NJ. I was unable to get a ticket for that year, but because of the area, there was actually a rather large group converging outside. The weather was warm, but not unbearable so I was able to dress up and interact with some of the fans in that way.

The 2019 show, however, was my first chance to actually be part of the full convention events. Saddened by the ending of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a series that most people at this convention held dear to their hearts, it was a sad moment when I realized that this wonderful convention I was attending would not be back for another year. I genuinely felt by the end of the convention that I had missed out on years of something amazing.

Due to work, and fellow staffers unable to go, we headed down to the convention starting Friday. Hotel check in was fairly straight forward, though I did attempt to save a few bucks by pre-purchasing parking in one of the parking decks down the road. That turned into a disaster and a vow to just park at the con hotel if ever there was a chance to do so again.

Registration for the convention was again, fairly straight forward, and rather speedy. Luckily this is not one of the conventions you hear horror stories about lines, so that was a huge plus.

The space available for BronyCon use was huge, probably too large by today’s con standards, but I absolutely loved it. Having issues with large crowds and too many people in too small of a space, it was amazing to see just how much open area was available for attendee use. Someone spent most of the convention with music blasting, introducing new and old Brony mixes to the crowd. At some point during the con, a projector was set up in an out of the way area with fans just hanging out playing game. In another area, someone set up model trains and plushies.  People were breaking out table top games all throughout the public rest areas around the convention center. It was like one huge party and reminded me so much of anime conventions from 15 to 20 years back where everyone was excited to find a group of people that enjoyed the same things they did and just hang out and make friends.

An entire area was set up just for autographs. It was in a nice central area to the convention center itself, but did not cause issue with foot traffic, panel traffic, or traffic into and out of the dealers hall area. The dealers hall was large and spread out. Before you could actually get into the dealers area, a set up with tables and chairs was there, allowing attendees an area to sit and relax, or eat, without having to juggle all of the items they may have purchased. I really wish more conventions, especially those that have food service available, would set these types of areas up. A small stage was set in the same area, allowing for a variety of small scale concerts with DJs, or various variety type entertainment. The dealers area itself became a little congested the closer the booths were to the entrance, but as you turned off from this main entrance strip, the crowd spread out and it was fairly easy to navigate. Dealers of all sorts, pony and non-pony related were there, and quite a few sold out, including the official convention booth. Plushies seemed to be the first to go, along with cosplay accessories for the main series ponies. Other booths had body pillow covers, pins, t-shirts, or general fandom type product. There were quite a few fan artists as well, some with viral followings on Facebook and Instagram, while other’s just followed the con circuit and had general art of various fandoms.

Friday night was the Grand Galloping Gala, a mix of formal and scripted performance show, that has become a huge successful event at this convention. I adore a good formal, so had a very mixed reaction to this event. As someone that had never attended BronyCon before, the Gala promoted itself as a formal dance with strict dress code. Not having anything to compare it to other than other convention formals, I had a very specific idea of what I was getting into, which my assumption was completely wrong. The Gala was mainly a scripted play, completely well done, with an amazing story, acting, and costumes, but again, I had something very different in my head regarding what I knew to be a convention formal. There was some dancing, usually 10 minutes’ worth of classical music between the scripted stage show, based around the previous part in the performance. The entire event was absolutely fantastic, but I really wish there was more time for just dancing either before or after the scripted parts of the show and wish that the performance could have been done fully for any convention attendee and not just during a formal event.

I regret that I truly ran out of time to see more during this convention. I was able to stop in momentarily to see some of the music acts on the main stage Saturday night, but the rest of the convention I was enjoying the entertainment outside of the dealers hall, chatting with other MLP fans including those younger and older than myself, and people watching, because the cosplay was so amazing for this event.

Not surprising, there was actually quite a bit of non-pony related cosplay from popular franchises, but the MLP cosplay was also really well done. They did a cosplay parade, specifically for those individuals in full fur suits, and some of these costumes really were outstanding. The creativity in the costuming all weekend was so well done, and thought out. Some dressed to impress, with full on gowns and feathered wings, while others crossed their pony cosplay with popular internet memes.

I was so impressed with this convention, the layout, the timing of the panels and programming that quite frankly the only true negative I have about the convention is that this was the last one. I am so sorry to have missed out on such an amazing time with fantastic staff and a really great location. I have hope, that even though Friendship is Magic is no longer airing as an animated series, that due to the continuation in comic form, and the love that all the fans have for the event and series in general, that perhaps, this convention can come back, even if just a smaller scale than before. While there are plenty of other pony related conventions, we really have lost an amazing event.

Mako-chan

Mako-chan isn’t just a writer and co-host… She’s also the resident baker and chef of all things yummy. Mako-chan has been working behind the scenes helping out where she can for the Podcast. Officially joining the team in November of 2011, first as a writer and editor, and later as an on air personality for the show, and now Assistant Editor, Mako-chan embraces the five main sureties in life that make a person great; Beauty, Intelligence, Talent, Creativity, and Honesty. ^_~

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