• Everfree Northwest: A Calpain Retrospective

    Amazing, simply amazing. I had high hopes for Everfree Northwest considering the rave reviews I heard about the event last year, but I can safely say all those expectations were not only met, but greatly exceeded. A combination of great people, events, and merchandise made this an experience I will not soon forget and has made my trip to the west coast my best convention experience to date.

    As I was so busy running around chatting and such I didn't get a good chance at some pictures, but an awesome pony fan by the name of Brawny Buck has provided me with a ton of images for this report. Thank you so much man!

    Thursday - Flying Science Pony and Settling in

    Everfree was special from the get go as it would be my first convention I could actually attend all three days as I planned to arrive a day early. The day started off with a quick drive to Columbus where my connecting flight to Detroit was awaiting me under grey clouded skies. The trip and journey through the airport terminal was uneventful and I expected a rather dull wait as I cleared security. One thing did catch my eye though, a young lady ahead of me in security I chatted with briefly turned out to have an awesome DS and a lot of luggage, but after clearing the checkpoint my mind quickly wandered back to thoughts of the convention and I made my way to my gate.

    But fate has an interesting way of playing things out. As I approached the gate I saw the same young lady from before and casually said hello with a smile, asking her where she was ending up as I didn't expect her to be on the same flight as me. She mentioned going to Seattle and at this time my ears perked, 'Could it be?' I thought. I said me too and asked why she was going as well to which she replied, 'A convention.' and it was at that moment I smiled wide and realized this wait wasn't going to be so boring after all! We were both ecstatic to meet another pony fan at the airport and got to chatting and as it turns out she was Emily from Pegasisters Live! What a fantastic start to this journey!

    After our connecting flight we had lunch and unfortunately were split up on the plane on the trip to Seattle, but time passed quickly as I chatted with the passenger next to me from Venezuela. Enjoyable chap with a knack for history we talked the entire way to Seattle which appeared out my window in almost a blink of an eye, Mt Rainier looming in the distance and serving as a perfect backdrop for the convention.

    We both departed the plane and made our way by shuttle to the convention center, both glad to finally be at our destination. After saying our farewells we parted ways at which point I checked in and began my search for my friends I wanted to meet up with. At this point I saw pony all around me and in the streets around the convention center as fans made their way to the surrounding hotels and restaurants. I had forgotten how amazing it felt being around such an atmosphere of excitement! The rest of the night was spent with many hugs and hand shakes to the people I had not met in many months and those I had never seen in person before such as fellow EqD pre-reader and poster CouchCrusader. Fireworks leaped up around the city as almost a celebration of the coming of the convention itself and made for quite a show. Finally spent, I collapsed in bed and awaited the next day: the start of the convention proper.

    Friday - It Begins!

    The next morning was filled with excitement as I went down to the vendor hall to help setup some of the tables my friends were manning and to see what sort of merchandise everyone was selling. I must say, despite a vendor hall smaller than I saw at last year's BronyCon the room contained a plethora of merchandise, especially plushies which I noticed had increased in quantity over the other conventions I had visited in the past. Everything imaginable was there including bead ponies, crotchet ponies, pony ties, stained glass and even jewelry to name a few! Simply put, if you had money you wouldn't for long.

    This lady did a fantastic Granny Smith! Calling out to others for cider challenges and advertising the booth she worked for really added the excitement of the already bustling room.

    As the morning wore on, the convention opening ceremonies quickly approached and my friends who wanted to see it were getting ready to head on over to the convention center. But as we got ready to leave staff members shouted out that the ceremony had been delayed. 'How come? Is something wrong?' we thought, but when we peeked out of the hall we noticed why: a huge line leading straight out the door, composed of what looked like many, many walk in attendees. Fortunately the convention staff were working hard to get everything straightened out and there was still the vendor hall nearby to keep people busy! While I waited I helped a fellow fan pick up some water from 7-11 and distributed it to vendors in the hot vendor hall that was packed with customers.

    After registration was taken care of, the rest of the day was spent meeting people, helping in the vendor hall and just taking in the sights of the convention of which there was much to take in! Of the wonderful people I got to meet some of my most dear were my great friends Fetchbeer, JJ, UC77 whom I had seen at previous conventions but also some new faces such as Space Case the rocket pony, the ever wonderful Cat Whitney, and even Sibsy briefly as she came into the hotel.

    For Science!

    Of course Shining Armor made an appearance as well with his wife in tow!
     Dinner that night consisted of a lovely trip to one of Seattle's many food locales, in this case Sushi Land! Chit chatting with my vendor friends as we took turns grabbing the sushi moving past us on a little conveyor belt, word was that sales were brisk and one of my friends had already almost sold out on the first day! So to any of you looking to vend at Everfree in the future I'd say your prospects are looking good for decent sales!

    Ending the night we returned to the hotel and spent the evening playing such games as Cards Against Humanity and just have a good time in general. Exhausted I then crashed in bed waiting for what the next day of the convention would bring.

    Saturday - More Friends, More Cheer

    Waking up on Saturday I was eager to get the day rolling and see what new adventures awaited me!  
    And the day certainly did not disappoint! Again, most of the day was spent chatting with people I had wanted to meet for the better part of a year such as Raven, who had flown in the previous evening, Sibsy, and a score of others. After getting signatures (and Andrew Francis writing Bum on the tail edge of my coat. To clear things up of course) and hugs it was already time for lunch. The day was going well!

    The only thing that soured the afternoon and filled me with worry was a security scare concerning a close friend of mine. Thankfully though the convention was on top of things and handled everything extremely professionally, for which I tip my hat to them as I was extremely impressed by their efforts. Good show!

    Thankfully the rest of the day began to wind down and I was invited to just hang out and have some pizza with members of BronyCAN, BronyCon, and Everfree itself. Moments like these were some of the best at the convention in my opinion: just getting to know others with good food and high spirits. With a full belly and an aching body I retired to bed, unfortunately missing out on the Ponystock events which I can not give an opinion on, but from seeing some of the pictures it looked like a blast!

    Sunday - Dawn of the Final Day

    Sunday, being the last day of the convention, was a day full of goodbyes and last minute rushes to get as much done as possible before having to fly back home. Having accomplished much of what I wanted to do and see, I milled about visiting friends and spending what little I had left of the money I brought.  Some of the most memorable moments of the day was getting to eat at IHOP with Raven and talk animation with her, going behind the scenes with the Everfree Network guys and giving many hugs, and checking in on a vendor I had been talking to about getting both Andrea Libman and Michelle Creber to take some pictures with her plushies (which happened, yay!). The final event of the evening was a lovely dinner out with friends Fetch, JJ, and CouchCrusader (who had suggested Sushi Land earlier, solidifying my thoughts that Couch has great tastes in food!). But all good things must come to an end and I soon found myself at the airport later that night, waving goodbye to my friends and boarding a plane to take me back home. As the plane took off I looked out the window and saw the convention center down below, gleaming in the dark and I smiled feeling both fulfilled and happy to have gone to such a great convention.

    And as for my trademark coat? Well, I managed to snag a few more signatures my friends!

    To sum things up, it was a bustling convention filled with happy folks, happy vendors, and one happy science pony. The staff were professional and awesome to deal with, the venue was the right size never feeling too crowded or too empty, and there was plenty to do considering I was exhausted each day and that was without even being able to attend any panels!

    With that, I'll be signing off! Everfree was a great experience and it was a pleasure meeting everyone I did happen to meet there and I certainly will be making the trip back to Seattle again next year!

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