The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures

[con report] Invasion of the Bronies? Dispatch from My Little Pony Fair 2011

Who goes to a My Little Pony convention?

Last year (and pretty much any year since 1983), the crowds would probably have included middle-aged collectors and little girls dragging around harried dads and nostalgic moms.

But then, in January of 2011, everything changed for the MLP franchise when the Lauren Faust-developed cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic premiered and exploded -- exploded! -- on the Internet. It developed a fanbase among /b/tards and redditors, a group comprised largely of 20something males. And these devoted apostles to the adventures of Twilight Sparkle n' friends christened themselves "Bronies." And it was good.

When Hasbro announced its My Little Pony Fair and Collector's Convention at company headquarters in Pawtucket, RI, there was some talk that the fair might be inundated with this new demographic of fans.

Summer Hayes, founder of pony-collection site and author of several books on the subject, thought the popularity of MLP:FiM would bring the bronies in droves. So she was surprised, initially, to find that there were not that many at the convention this past Saturday. "I thought that there would be more, but only the really devoted collectors would travel from far away. The bronies that are here are mostly from the area," she said.

Still, there was certainly an unexpected demographic shift. Though not the majority of attendees, there were smatterings of hipsters, and the occasional twentysomething in a Nyan Cat T-shirt. I also spotted several little boys -- Brony Juniors. Many were there with siblings and families, but in their Red Sox or Transformers tees they looked less than miserable as their sisters pointed excitedly at the cardboard displays of Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle. My Little Pony is cool now, after all.

Then there were the more hardcore fans. The con brought with it plenty of cosplayers, or people in pony-inspired outfits: frilly collars, rainbow skirts, candy-colored wigs, and pastel jumpsuits with cupcake decals abounded. At their booths, they showed off their collections that were either for sale or just for show. One woman displayed an entire collection of her favorite pony, the Generation 1 Crumpet. A nearby table advertised "My Little Pony Talk," an all-ponies-all-the-time podcast.

As for the nods to FiM's rabid internet fandom? In one display of classic and vintage ponies,  meme-character Doctor Whooves (battling a plastic Dalek) made a cameo appearance. DeviantArtist Dizziness was selling adorable FiM-based art that included popular background character Derpyhooves.

Pony-based art dealers were prevalent as well. Custom-designers like Jewel and Jenny McCarthy designed exquisite custom ponies, repainting the bodies and refreshing the manes and tails with interesting materials like ribbon or deconstructed yarn.

But Kar Red Roses -- herself a sight to behold in her pink felt wig and yellow getup -- was in a league all her own. Her show-stealing display of Ponies De Los Muertos included handmade ponies painted to look like Mexican Day of the Dead folk art. Only with pony heads. Her MLP sugar skulls were strangely beautiful, festooned with colors and flowers and candles.

Kar also makes shrunken pony heads, which were not in the display but can be found on her website. The juxtaposition of death and ponies may seem bizarre, but to Karen, it just makes sense. "When I was younger, I was always that girl who was obsessed with death," she said. And she also collected My Little Ponies at the same time. "It's not really strange, because death is a major part of life." And so, for these collectors, is My Little Pony.

As for where she got all the pony heads, Kar was able to explain. It wasn't like she had piles and piles of headless ponies in her attic: she mostly got the heads from collectors at conventions like this one. Said Kar: "Oh, you'd be surprised where you can find pony heads."

| More

Follow us on Twitter for daily updates and links to general coolness

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Laser Orgy Archives
Saturday, January 14, 2012  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group
Copyright © 2012 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group