• The Final Ponycon: A Calpain Retrospective

    Conventions may come and go, but they are more than just that. They are experiences and memories that we will hold on to forever, both the good and the bad. As the years go on and familiar conventions are held again and again we grow used to them being on our radar, a time to meet with our friends and have a great time. So when a convention ends it can be quite a shocker, a place you've grown familiar with suddenly disappearing.

    That's what happened to me with Ponycon this year, the first convention I've regularly gone to that has closed its doors. While the convention ended itself on a somber note, the experience I had at the last Ponycon was quite positive even though there were a few convention hiccups along the way.

    Welcome to another convention retrospective! Sorry this one took so long everyone, I've been dreadfully busy (not to mention sick after the con). Now, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of it all.

    As this was the last Ponycon, feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

    All pictures are credited to the Ponycon photo team except for the pic showing off the Grand Prospect Hall exterior and interior!


    First off, I'd like to tell a tale of caution to all of you who are looking to go to conventions: make sure that there is plenty of time to get on your plane. I almost didn't get to go to the convention because of a combination of bad weather on the roads and a long security line. By the time I reached the gate I was too late and had to book on a later flight that evening. Getting there early might be boring, but it is worth it considering you don't have to freak out about missing your flight and paying extra for a new booking.

    I arrived into New York relatively late so there wasn't much time for anything other than heading to my host family's house and getting some much needed sleep after such a stressful day. The next day we'd be heading into the convention super early as I was helping my girlfriend vendor so getting all the sleep I could was important. Fatigue quickly took me into sleep and the hectic day ended on a happy note, myself excited to see my friends and the new venue for the convention.


    We got up bright and early for our trip into New York the next morning, gathering what we needed into the car for the short drive into the city. I was excited to see the venue the convention would be at as Ponycon was quite good at surprising me with its locations each and every year and I kept my eyes peeled for the location. When we finally arrived I was quite surprised as the building looked so small in comparison to the other venues Ponycon had been held at.

    Looks can be deceiving

    Upon entering the building though, I realized how much bigger it really was on the inside. Not only that, but I was greeted with the beauty of the old building in every room I entered. I later came to hear that the Hall was mainly used for things like weddings so while the lighting and layout may not have been the best for a convention, it certainly was one of the most beautiful conventions I had ever been to.

    Example of the main ball room set for a function

    After nabbing a convention guide and greeting some friends, I made my way to the one of the vendor's rooms to help my girlfriend set up. Then it was a quick trip to the opening ceremony where we were greeted by a clever little movie starring the staff of the con. Check it out!

    The first day was pretty uneventful as I met up with friends, got my bearings, and froze my butt off going for hamburgers. Things picked up at night as we attended a meet and greet for the VIPs where I managed to greet some old friends and get a few more signatures on my lab coat (Huzzah!). It was a lovely gathering with Lauren Faust (and her brother who is a really cool guy by the way), Jim Miller, and way more show staff than I can count. While I had to leave the function early for dinner it looked like everyone was having fun! Feeling tired and accomplished we ended the day at a pub with my girlfriend and my hosts.

    It was a wonderful first day and I wondered what to expect for tomorrow as we not only have the VIP dinner, but the amazing concert starring Lena Hall as well to look forward to. Falling quickly to sleep, I felt positive things would go well tomorrow!


    Sunday started out cold and I mean really cold. Apparently it was the coldest the city had been in 100 years if my information is correct and it showed a bit at the convention. Not risking the frigid weather there appeared to be not as many people as the day before but the convention was still busy as con goers walked the vending halls and various panels. Unfortunately while the building wasn't used to handling such cold, making it a bit nippy inside, it was nothing that a sweater or coat could ward off.

    As with most conventions the second day was busiest for myself and the EqD gang as we not only had our panel to give but the Lena Hall concert to attend and the VIP Dinner that night. As the afternoon rolled around (and after I had some delicious food at a local chicken place) Seth, Leon, Cups, Q and I went upstairs to start our panel which unfortunately was scheduled right on top of the concert. Not wanting our fans to miss out on such an awesome event we planned to see who would show up and usher them over to the concert hall but thanks to a delay in the concert itself we managed to get quite a few questions in before heading over. To all of you that attended we thank you very much for dropping by, we were surprised how many people came to our panel despite the concert going on in the next room.

    Now besides securing Lauren Faust for their convention I'm sure many of you heard about the big concert with Lena Hall that Ponycon announced and boy did it not disappoint! While I was under the impression before I came that it was an event just with Lena it turned out to be a lovely concert featuring many of the VAs from the show including Vincent Tong, Ingrid Nilson, Peter New, Ashleigh Ball, Kazumi Evans, and Shannon Chan-Kent if I am remembering correctly. Simply put it was amazing to hear all of these VAs singing on stage with the only goof up being during Ashleigh's number because she forgot her ukulele and had to improvise (she was an excellent sport though).

    After these lovely performances which included a duet by Vincent and Ingrid, the Smile Song from Shannon Chan-Kent and a song sung by Peter as his character from Littlest Pet Shop, Lena took the stage and absolutely nailed it. It was simply amazing to hear her sing a song straight from the show with such quality, ending the concert with a round of the Equestrian Anthem.

    Lena Hall was the capstone of the concert!

    We've all sung the Smile Song, but when Pinkie is there to lead you it's extra special

    The concert was well attended and the VAs were amazing!

    Afterwards I helped my girlfriend again with her booth until the dinner sometime in the early evening. During that time Lena Hall herself browsed the vendor hall and we got to talk to her briefly, getting Hoofsies on our hands while giving her a perler Rara figure in return. When the time came we were ushered into the room where we had the meet and greet the night before and took our seats. The room was packed and the atmosphere light as a jazz band played in the corner.


    The way it was set up was that each table had one of the special guests seated at it (with Lauren and Bonnie at the con head table) to make sure that those attending the dinner had a chance to talk to one of the staff on the show while a three course meal was served. For the most part the dinner went well except for one table that ended up without a VIP (the table I speculated that Cathy Weseluck would have been at if she hadn't had to cancel) which caused some problems until Peter New came by and was able to talk to everyone.

    The dinner was a bit light for a VIP affair, consisting of a salad, some chicken and vegetables and a rich dessert, but I found that after the meal that it was an even greater opportunity to mingle than the night before. The staff were much looser with signing things, taking pictures and chatting which by itself would save tons of money in autograph and picture vouchers alone.

    Afterwards we packed up for the day and headed out for a light dinner since I'd eaten not long before. More pooped than yesterday I was looking forward to the final day of the convention which would be much slower than today was I hoped.


    Monday, while cloudy and a little snowy, was also a bit warmer as we came into the convention for its last day. Today was mostly a vending day for me and my girlfriend and while the day was particularly slow she managed to break even and earn a little bit more on top of that, something she mentioned a number of vendors achieving despite the split of vendor rooms.

    The day went relatively quickly and soon enough it was time for closing ceremonies. We gathered in the main hall as the con staff closed out Ponycon, inviting the MLP staff to come on stage and toss out what I thought was a large number of free goodies (shirts, plushies, ect). As their list of people they were thanking got longer and longer I had a feeling something was up, a fear confirmed when it was announced that this would be the last Ponycon.

    Tears were shed by not only the con staff, but the audience as well. As the crowd dispersed there was much mumbling about the sudden announcement, the audience sad that this would be the last Ponycon they would be able to visit. After sharing many hugs with friends and with convention staff, I made my way to leave Ponycon for the last time.

    As I went towards the exit to catch my ride I heard fans singing and enjoying the time they had together. While Ponycon would be no more the spirit of the community would remain and in the end we'd have all the great memories to share with each other far into the future.

    A big thanks to the Ponycon Staff and all the volunteers! Thank you all for such a wonderful time!

    Some time after the convention, the staff put up an explanation about why the convention came to an end, giving a large thanks to everyone that had attended and helped. You can find that below!

    In the end, while a conventions may come and go we have to remember to hold onto the good memories and enjoy the times we have. Nothing good lasts forever, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the ride. Thank you Ponycon for all the memories, we'll miss you!

    Twitter: Calpain