At this past weekend's BronyCon — a gathering of "bronies" at a convention center in Secaucus, New Jersey — you could buy My Little Pony hats, pins, art prints and even nail polish. You could go to a panel discussion with Lauren Faust, the creator of the cartoon show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. You could play a Magic The Gathering-type of card game that was My Little Pony-themed, or if you were really hardcore you could participate in a game of pony themed LARP (live action role play) game that went on for hours in a room with a tightly closed door. Or you could just hang out with the 4,000 other bronies and discuss the Derpy Hooves controversy.
A brony is an adult man who is a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic — not just the little plastic ponies that little girls have been playing with for decades. (Adult female fans are sometimes called "pegasisters," though I prefer to use the brony term universally.) They've developed an intense (some might say creepy) adoration of the show, which is aimed at young girls but is packed with clever jokes and sophisticated characters that appeal to adults, with a theme about the importance of friendship that resonates with teenage or college-age geeky guys.
Darius, a brony who's a member of the National Guard, was wearing a Rainbow Dash patch on his sleeve. “We barely made it up to the top steps and everyone outside was cheering for us. I didn’t know they were cheering for us, I thought one of the other guys had showed up, I thought it was [voice of the character "Dischord"] John de Lancie or Lauren Faust. I started clapping because I figured if everyone else was clapping I’d do it too. Then my friend was like, ‘no dude, they’re clapping for us.’” Apparently bronies also love a man in uniform.
Bronies have plenty of spaces on the internet — Tumblrs, Deviant Art, brony blogs — to communicate with other bronies, but getting to hang out with other bronies in real life seemed to be the most exciting part of the convention.
Another highlight of BronyCon was a screening of the second version of a video mashup called Ponies: The Anthology. A team of video editors worked for months splicing clips from the TV show with popular music and other dialogue to create a jumpy masterpiece filled with pop culture references and inside jokes from the show. The crowd loved it.
Here are more highlights from BronyCon, from vendors and their DIY merch to girls in evening gowns as part of pony cosplay costumes.