And now, a special BroNYCon convention report from Linwood Knight from The Outhouse Podcast!
As I sit down in front of my computer, the question that continues to be on my mind is “What makes a Convention” a Convention? The Dictionary has many meanings of the word, but the one that is closest to what BroNYcon (or any convention celebrating aspects of our culture) sounds far too formal to truly describe the weekend was like. With the accepted foundation for the meaning of words unable to do my work for me, I took some time to reflect on my question on my own terms. Thankfully, I didn’t have to spend too much time finding my final answer, as I quickly realized that a Convention is ultimately made up of the people that spend time at it, and while the events being hosted and overall environment the staff creates at the show influence the outcome, the final result rests upon the experiences of everyone involved. Thankfully, the final result was much better than I had expected.
Despite the convention being at the Meadowlands Convention Center, my experience of the story began across the Hudson at the Port Authority Bus Station where even outside of its doors, I saw people waiting for others dressed in costume. It was a moment that every convention veteran will tell you is the realization that this event is really happening, and if that wasn’t my wakeup call, the line to the bus most certainly was. Even as people were jockeying for line position, the people I struck a conversation with all had different reasons for being there that weekend. For some, it was to brush on their drawing skills, meet up with old friends, or spend money on Pony related items. For others, it was to experience the rave, get advice on how to pursue a hobby further, or even to just meet the guests of honor. The fact that a convention about ponies could attract so many people with such a diverse wants is a testament of the fandom as whole.
Speaking of guests, I still cannot recall another convention where the reception for the guests of honor was as loud and heartwarming as it was BroNYcon. Whether it was concept creator Lauren Faust, Twilight Sparkle Voice Actress Tara Strong, or even the Voice Actor of Snips (a bit character in every sense of the word) in Lee Tockar, every guest was given some of the loudest cheers I’ve ever witnessed at a convention. The sheer outpouring of gratitude and appreciation for each person involved with the creation of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” was one of the most surprising and heartwarming parts of the convention as whole. To make things even better, it was a love that reciprocated by every guest I have the privilege of taking to for the 10 seconds I was able to do so for each. My only regret was that I couldn’t get to interview any of them for an extended time, as documentary of their stories would’ve only enhanced the experience.
From the beginning of my Convention Career, I quickly learned how important Cosplayers are in shaping the overall story of a convention. Whether it’s the personal satisfaction of showing off something you’ve created, or getting one of the best opportunities to meet your favorite character in person, Cosplay has become an institution at weekends like this, as the cosplay was definitely on display at BroNYcon.
One of the best parts with Pony Cosplay is the fact that most people do it Ginjika () style, meaning that costumes are only limited by the imagination of those cosplaying, something that was certainly on display from start to finish. To start off with, the variety of characters being cosplayed was simply off the charts. Not only was the Mane 6 well represented, but almost every secondary character of note (show or fandom wise) had at least one Cosplayer present, leading to some great pictures. Secondly, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the diversity of the types of Cosplay present. From the fun and fancy free, to the costumes that left an impression for one reason or another, to the pieces that could be considered art, the amount of expression that came to the forefront was nearly limitless. To top things off, there were a few daring individuals that came as either their own original designs, or even as characters outside of the series being celebrated. You simply had to be there to get the impact of Spider Man bombing the Cosplay Contest at the most unexpected moment, a memory that simply cannot be scripted.
Like every convention, there are always moments that happen that no one foresaw coming, and the electrical Fire in the Meadowlands Convention Center would definitely count as the moment no one expected. It could’ve also been the moment that could’ve killed the convention, but it only served to unite the convention even more as everyone cooperated to make the wait for the convention to restart seem much less painful than it was. Needless to say, everyone there will have a story that’ll become the stuff of Convention Legend.
Finally, there is on group of stories that definitely deserves to not be forgotten, and those are the ones connected to those who traveled to display their creative ingenunity for everyone to see Without a doubt, being a Vendor at Convention Is one of the most thankless jobs you’ll ever encounter, but you cannot help but have respect for most of these brave souls that provide products that people can’t get anywhere else. With most Pony-Related Products being a labor of love, the “dealers’ room” had a special type of energy you can’t get anywhere else, as almost everyone involved poured hours of their labor and love into their works. It was a privilege to spend time with the ones I was able to, and I can’t wait to tell their stories, as well.
In conclusion, BroNYcon Summer 2012 wasn’t just a great experience, but a great story that needs to be shared to as many people as possible. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll definitely get a different perspective on how the weekend went, but I don’t think you’ll have an experience where a person had a bad time because of the convention itself. For someone who has been going to Conventions for a very long time, this was a harkening back to simpler times where memories and new friends were waiting just around the corner. To finish things off, here is a simple letter to Princess Celestia that perfectly captures the essence of BroNYcon Summer 2012 in a brief yet, elegant manner.
Dear Princess Celestia:
After attending this weekend’s fun filled pony party, I learned that bronies are not just nerds. I learned that they are some of the best and most wonderful people in the whole wide world. They really carry the message of what My Little Pony is about. And that is that friendship really is a wonderful and magical thing. I hope to return to Bronycon next year to meet more wonderful people.
Until then, Your Faithful Student: