Equestria L.A.: Southern California Gets Its Own Brony Convention, for My Little Pony Fans
*Top 5 Lessons for Adults From Friendship Is Magic
*My Little Pony Project at Toy Art Gallery
*Lauren Faust: Profile From Our People Issue
*Lauren Faust on Childhood Toys and Pitching Animated Shows
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is the animation phenomenon of this decade. A children's cartoon based on a now-retro line of toys that somehow became popular with young adults, Friendship Is Magic has become the defining television series for cable network The Hub. A much-anticipated third season begins next weekend, but, in the meantime, fans have been congregating across North America and Europe. They're celebrating Pinky Pie's love of a good party, DJ Pon-3's turntable skills and, most importantly, Twilight Sparkle's lessons about friendship at fan conventions big and small. Last weekend, Southern California's healthy MLP fan community gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center for Equestria L.A.
The fans -- called Bronies, often regardless of gender (sometimes female fans use the term Pegasisters) -- were packed into one small section of the Convention Center. They wore My Little Pony t-shirts and hoodies. Some were dressed in full costumes, mostly human versions of the shows equine heroes. There were few children here. Equestria L.A.'s organizers expected about 1000 people to show up for the two-day event last week. That's a strong number for a first year convention, particularly for one that had planned to be much smaller.
"Originally, we wanted to have, maybe, a 400 person event for one day," says David Cuyno, who handles the conventions press relations. Turns out that Equestria L.A. underestimated the demand for their event. Cuyno notes that, when the badges first went on sale in the summer, 20 percent were sold in the first week. A few weeks later, they had sold 80 percent of the badges. That was before they announced the show's writers and voice actors were attending. Equestria L.A. expanded quickly and that worked. Later on, they scored guests of honor like Lauren Faust, who developed the show for The Hub, and Tara Strong, the voice of lead pony Twilight Sparkle.
Equestria L.A. isn't the first convention for Friendship Is Magic fans. That honor goes to BronyCon, which has put on four events in the New York area since 2011. Josh Dean, a 26-year-old from Wisconsin, was out at Equestria L.A. to help promote BronyCon. "We see ourselves not as competitors," he says. "All we want to do is bring fun to everybody."
There's a sense of camaraderie among the different Friendship Is Magic events that resembles what you'll see in the anime and comic book fan convention worlds. But it's also something that is indicative to the Brony fandom as well. Events like Equestria L.A. are different from other conventions and they're bringing in people who haven't been a part of the convention world before.
Up next: a Brony who's a former Marine