• Hearth's Warming Con 2016: A Short Followup By Gameleon

    I've seen my fair share of pony conventions in other European countries and the USA over the last two years, but until last year there never was a convention in my home country of the Netherlands. When the first one finally took place back in February of 2015 I was out of the country and I couldn't attend. Luckily, this year I was finally able to attend Hearth's Warming Con 2016. Held in Hoofddorp (about 10km south of Amsterdam), it attracted pony fans from all over the Netherlands and beyond.

    Find the write-up below the break!

    Friday Evening

    Usually I would take the airplane to a pony convention, but there were no convenient flight options available. So I travelled halfway across the entirety of the country for this convention using my trusty car. It took about 40 minutes.

    Before the con even took place there was the so called Pancake Eve dinner. A dinner event for certain con attendees, con staff and of course special guest M.A. Larson. Taking place in a glass veranda of the Pancake Pavillion in the village of Cruquius, pancakes were the natural meal of choice here. The pancake eve was a great opportunity to meet up with old friends again, as well as make some new friends as the night went on.

    After the Pancake dinner there was a con organized treasure hunt in the area. Sadly I wasn't able to take part due to time constraints.


    But the next day it was time for the actual event. In the aptly named city of Hoofddorp (dubbed Hoofdrop by the con) the two days of Hearth's Warming Con took place. The con venue was a three floor Dutch party barn.

    Early in the morning people started lining up for the event to get their con badge. Shortly afterwards the main room was slowly filling up for the upcoming opening ceremonies, which would open the convention and introduce the guest of honor.

    After the opening ceremonies there was the M.A. Larson scripting panel hosted by mr. Larson himself. In this panel he told about the different stages the script for Return of Harmony (The season 2 opener) that went into developing the script for Return of Harmony. From the first story meeting back in April 2010 (6 months before season 1 even aired) to the final version we saw on screen. Unfortunately due to the content of the panel no one was allowed to take photos or video.

    The rest of the day for me consisted of hanging around the con, meeting friends, attending the different panels, workshops and games spread over the three con floors and of course getting some merch at the vendor hall.


    But probably the Dutchiest part about the convention was the stroopwafel stand right in front of the venue entrance distributing free fresh made stroopwafels (a Dutch waffle filled with syrup, honey or caramel).
    They were very tasty so a certain show writer could not resist signing one.

    Later in the day the con's charity auction took place. Hosted by con-chair Woelzy and Dutch writer Roderick Leeuwenhart (who has such a natural-sounding British accent, it fooled the most British of pony fans in the venue).  As usual for these charity's all sorts of stuff was auctioned off to the pony fan who would bid most, this time ranging from a figurine collection to another Larson-signed stroopwafel (which sold for €40).

    The total amount raised during the charity event was €2541. Added up with all the other amounts raised during the raffle, sunday mini-auction and the "Plushie round", the con managed to raise a total of €3003,19 for charity.
    All proceeds went to the Dierentehuis Kennemerland, the largest animal shelter in the Hoofddorp area.

    The last panel of the day was a Skype call with a secret guest, hosted by FoalPapers. It turned out to be none other than Kazumi Evans, singing voice of Rarity and Luna and voice of Moondancer, calling in all the way from Canada. Despite some technical difficulties, it managed to be a very fun Q&A panel.

    The evening concluded with a dance party in the main hall of the convention, which I unfortunately wasn't able to attend. (Darn you, obligations!) From hearsay around the con the next day I got that it was a very fun event.


    The last day of a con is usually the more uneventful one. Even so, HWCon managed to still put out a bunch of fun panels. Ranging from a fandom musician panel to artists and fanfiction writing panels.


    Also Larson was Rarity on a dating show. That's a (hilarious) thing that happened.

    Later on during the day the con was visited by two of the voice actors of the Dutch Friendship is Magic cast: Nicoline van Doorn (Cadance) and Jannemien Cnossen (Sweetie Belle and Cheerilee).

    The final event of the con was a skype call with Claire Corlett (voice of Sweetie Belle) and Chantal Strand (voice of Diamond Tiara). The technical difficulties of yesterday's Skype call were fixed this time around and what we got was a very fun call to end the con on.  (With mr. Larson occassionally stepping in to ask a few questions to the two voice actors as well)

    But all good things must come to an end, even a pony convention. After the Skype call the con was concluded with a closing ceremony thanking all volunteers and guests that made the con possible.

    Final word

    In short: I had a lot of fun at Hearth's Warming Con 2016. There is just a certain charm to these kind of smaller cons that makes it just so much fun to be there. And even then I'm sure this write-up missed a lot of the fun stuff that was going on over the two days of the con, there was so much going on to do or to see. Good times. Good times.

    If there is a 2017 edition of HWCon I will try my very best to come over again!
    This was Gameleon rambling on about HWCon 2016, signing off!

    Twitter: Gameleon