Whoever came up with the phrase “Life Happens while you’re making plans”, is a certified genius. Looking back on the whole entire deal, the way it came together was kind of slipshod in and of itself. When Bronycon first announced that they would make the Move to Baltimore, along with taking place the week before Otakon’s 20th Anniversary, any plans I had to attend the 2013 edition of this convention were shot to hell for the time being. Fast forward to July 1st, and my job had decided to make it unfeasible for me to attend a full weekend at Otakon, so I decided to pull out of that Convention to attend Bronycon for Saturday only. From there, the subsequent 6 weeks leading up to the Show were spent making a number of plans in the hopes of bringing wall-to-wall coverage for the Outhouse to display. However, in accordance with the phrase in the first sentence, August 3rd, 2013 had a different plan in mind.
The Calm before the Storm: August 2nd, 2013
Despite not getting to the Convention till Saturday Morning, my Bronycon weekend started bright and early the day before. My original game plan had been to leave my house at 7:00 AM, get to work by 7:45 and start my trip at 3:45 in the afternoon. As I was making my way downstairs, the elevator had the bright idea of getting stuck for 15 minutes. Thankfully, I still made it to work by the time I wanted, but little did I know how much that incident was a sign of things to come.
Once the work day had ended, it was time to make my way to Penn Station, to catch a New Jersey Transit Train, which would get me to SEPTA (Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority) Regional Rail, which in turn would get me to Philadelphia. After a smooth, uneventful ride, I was back in 30th Street Station for the first time in 8 years. Twenty minutes later, my friends came to pick me up, and despite not seeing one of them for much longer than should be acceptable, we got it on like nothing changed. Once we left the train station, we were off to a lively Dinner and nigh-euphoric Dessert that will stay with me for quite some time. Eventually, we arrived at where we were staying for the night and it wouldn’t take us long to call it a night and get some sleep, which would end up proving to be quite the surreal experience.
On the way to his house, Paul and Caitlin had warned me about the former’s Dog and how affectionate she could get. However, (and please forgive my use of a worn out cliché here) there was not a thing that could prepare me for what would happen during this night. The minute I stepped inside, Bessie (the dog’s name) had singled me out. When this first happened, I had begun to be wary, because Dogs have this way of Barking at the site of me. However, I soon learn that she was harmless and just wanted to show her affection, which didn’t bother me, until I learned what that meant. For about 2 Hours, any attempt to sleep was thwarted by a Dog who took it upon herself to slobber, pounce and do whatever else that came to her mind. It got so bad that I tumbled out of the couch to avoid getting accosted. Needless to say, the night of August 2nd will be one I will always remember for dubious reasons.
How exactly does Six Weeks of Planning get shot full of Holes?
Before I begin talking about what happened on that Saturday, let me start by posting the schedule that myself and Ms. Jamie Lee Song (who I partnered with to cover the Convention) were hoping to keep for that day.
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM: Writers Panel for myself and Jamie would meet me there.
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM: Cosplay Photoshoot for the both of us, and we would skip out early for different events and happenings that ran concurrently with the tail end of this one.
12:00 PM – 2:30 PM: Brenda Crichlow Press Conference for myself till 1:00 PM, Legacy of Harmony for Jamie from 1:30 – 2:30. Free Time would be had from 12:00 – 1:30 for Jamie and 1:00 – 2:30 for me.
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Interview with Lady Ava/Caitlin Beards with Jamie and myself.
4:00 PM – 7:15 PM: Free time for both of us till 6:15 when I would sit in on the Cosplay Panel.
What could possibly get in the way of roughly 6 weeks of planning? The same phrase I began this article with. From the very second we left 45 minutes later than we wanted to, the plans that were made we beginning to become compromised, and it soon became evident that the writer’s panel would be missed, something that I could easily accept because it would be covered elsewhere. Unfortunately, missing the writer’s panel would only be the beginning of the issues. After getting to the Hotel and dropping off our stuff, it would be time to pick up badges where I would find out that they ran out of Press Badges, which wasn’t a bit deal in the grand scheme of things, but was irritating at the time. However, those two incidents would pale in comparison to the grand misfortune of Jamie missing her Bus Stop and getting charted off to Washington D.C. It was at this point where I completely threw out the schedule we had made for ourselves and just take things at my own pace, and it turned out to be the best decision I made the whole entire day
What really happened at Bronycon ’13?
From my perspective, the story of Bronycon 2013 is a story of several components that simply cannot be broken down into chronological order. This time, the best way to tell this story is from experience to experience, starting with the general atmosphere of the event. To expand on what I said in the intro, another reason why I didn’t want to go to this year’s Bronycon at first had to do with the fact that I was a bit upset at Bronycon’s move away from the NYC area. After the initial shock of the news wore off, I understood why they moved down to Baltimore, but still was concerned it wouldn’t be the same, however, there are times where different can be just as good and this was one of them. While this year’s Bronycon couldn’t replicate the same “down home” feeling that the last one did, it definitely had the same feel-good, welcoming feeling. From the regular convention attendees, to the staff, you couldn’t help but want to feel a part of the festivities in some way.
The second experience that stood out to me was the Cosplay, which was a big part of my persona experience, because I traveled with the same woman who did the Princess Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie Dresses that have made the rounds on the Internet. Of course, I expected Bronycon to have its’ share of Cosplay, but I certainly didn’t expect that Cosplay to be as good as it was. Throughout the day, I think I saw at least one Cosplay of the most recognizable characters that impressed me in one way or another. Princess Twilight Sparkle, Nightmare Moon, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Wonderbolts, Princess Cadence, Rarity and many others. This convention’s Cosplay impressed and inspired.
Beyond those two aspects, the final major thing that stood out to me about this year’s Bronycon was the attendance makeup. In 2012, the convention was almost exclusively attended by peripheral audience of the show, and I expected things to remain the same this time around. From the minute I stepped on to the show floor, I was pleasantly surprised to see both families and their kids attending the show. No matter what anyone says, “My Little Pony” as a franchise will always be primarily for the younger girls in our lives, and to see them as a force in attendance is a very good thing. There is always something magical about a child being excited about meeting their favorite characters in person, even if they’re a different species.
Should you take anything away from this story, it would most definitely be the lesson that we are more control of how we handle our circumstances then we realize. Looking back on things, it would’ve been very easy to break down, curl into a ball and forget this day ever happened. Doing the exact opposite, however, produced amazing results. Between great events, seeing people you haven’t seen in years, making new friends, smiling kids, epic merchandise and indescribable moments, Bronycon 2013 was definitely one of the best weekends of an already Epic Summer. Is it 2014 yet, because I know I will be there all 3 days.
(Various Pictures came way of Jamie Lee Song.)