• The First FillyCon: A Retrospective by Octavia

    Even with some conventions eventually coming to a disheartening close, we still have the occasional new conventions springing up. At the end of August, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of these brand new conventions; the very first FillyCon! Held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from August 26-28.

    Find my thoughts and retrospective followup of FillyCon 2016 after the break!

    Before we dive into the convention aspects of this post, I would first like to offer a big thank you to Victor for supplying the majority of these pictures. I had unfortunately left all my camera equipment at home and a cellphone just doesn't quite cut it when it comes to taking a decent group of pictures. So again, thank you.

    This trip was initially a little on the surreal side for me, as it was the first time I had been to Philadelphia since Anthrocon's last year there in 2005. Needless to say, I was very nervouscited!

    This was the banner right outside the front doors of the hotel, letting everyone know the Bronies where in town. I can only imagine how much curiously it piqued for random passersby.

    One of the first things I do upon arriving to a convention is to get registered and pickup my badge. Right before you entered the registration room you were greeted by this adorable Freedom Belle showing you the way. D'aww.

    I was unable to arrive to the convention on Thursday as I typically like to. I arrived around mid-Friday afternoon, unfortunately missing the Opening Ceremonies. I always prefer to attend a convention's Opening Ceremonies as it feels like a good official way to kickoff the weekend. Still, it looks like those that were there had fun.

    This was the vendor hall. Also known as the magical place where most of your money never escapes from. So many things to buy, so little time.

    Isn't that just like Twilight; face-planted into a book.

    Admittedly, I didn't do a whole lot for the rest of Friday. I managed to wander around aimlessly for a little while, say hi to some folks and browse the vendor hall. Initially I had planned to attend a panel or two that interested me, but by the time I got up to my hotel room, I was so exhausted I simply chilled while watching some Steven Universe before abruptly falling asleep.

    And that brings us to Saturday! Typically the busiest day of a convention. The day started out fairly slow, but what you see above is one of the first things I recall seeing that morning. It piqued my curiously, so I went to lift one of the legs and to my surprise...

    *gasp!* I was actually expecting the entire figure! Oddly enough, there was a pair of Rainbow Dash legs only a few feet away as well, but they had mysteriously vanished by the time I went past again later on.

    Ingrid Nilson (voice of Maud Pie) was one of the Guests of Honor this year. For those unaware, at some of the conventions she attends she hosts a panel where she teaches others about yoga. These panels tend to be very relaxing and fun and I recommend them.

    Another good panel I often see at conventions is Brass Knuckles' Assertiveness Seminars. In these she helps teach folks how to be more confident and more easily speak in front of others. If you feel you may lack confidence at times, these panels might be worth checking out as well.

    Oh hey, looks like a certain mysterious artist was lurking around the convention that weekend. It's always fun to find these little drawings scattered about randomly. They even did one for me at Bronycon one year. Pretty awesome.

    The next event on my list to attend was the FillyCon Lip Sync Battles! I wasn't exactly certain what to expect from this panel, other than folks lip-syncing to music of course. But I'm definitely glad I decided to attend. This panel was a whole lot of fun. Ingrid Nilson and Alexandra Carter (voice of Peppermint Twist and another Guest of Honor) even took part. Ingrid herself busting out two great performances while lip syncing to "Whip My Hair" and "Tricks Up My Sleeve". At the end they asked audience members if they'd like to get up and lip-sync to a tune as well. I think everyone really enjoyed it.

    As a cosplayer, I'm always looking for new tips and tricks to help me put together the best cosplays I can. So I often attend panels having to do with designing and making costumes, styling wigs, how to wear makeup, things like that. This panel was pretty good with plenty of tips for those just starting out and even for those looking to take their cosplay to new heights. And one of the hosts was wearing a really good Countess Coloratura cosplay. The Applejack and Fluttershy breezie cosplayers are just for added awesome.

    I often pop into the vendor's hall in-between panels or when I'm lacking on things to do at that particular time. This was the booth area for the revamped Ponycon convention coming up in January. I really dig the bright and colorful cute banners!

    These were also at the Ponycon vendor booth. Equally terrifying yet adorable. I applaud them for their creativity.

    Later in the afternoon came one of my favorite events of any convention; the charity auction! Not only do folks get the chance to bid on lots of wonderful items donated by generous people, but the proceeds of the auction go to help the selected charity! It's a win-win for everyone!

    The auction got off to a somewhat slow start but picked up steam before too long. There were many great items to tempt the audience into bidding on. Things such as a Fluffle Puff bag of assorted Fluffle Puff items, a couple of JapanPonycon art CD's and TSSSF Twist card that traveled all the way over from Japan, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash original paintings on canvas, some really nifty Celestia and Luna custom patches, a woodcarving of all three of the FillyCon mascots, a woodcarving of Maud's cutie mark, a Maud Pie plushie signed by Ingrid, and a bunch of other great stuff.

    Included in the mix of auction items were a couple particularly incredible ones. Pictured above is a painting of the FillyCon logo, signed by many of the convention attendees, convention staff, and convention Guests of Honor. The guys who put it together roamed the convention asking everyone if they'd like to sign it. Really cool. If you squint hard enough, you may even see my signature in there somewhere.

    This piece ended up being the belle of the ball. Pictures really don't do it justice and I apologize for the glare in the photo. Each character and detail on this was hand-carved. If that wasn't enough, there are signatures galore from quite a large portion of the show's voice cast. It's no wonder this piece accumulated so many bids.

    And this was the winner of the piece, along with it's creator, Spike Firemane. Congrats to both of you!

    After the charity auction concluded I stuck around to watch The Shake Ups in Ponyville perform. It's always a joy to attend their performances. And they performed one of my favorite tunes by them; Princess of the Night.

    Next up on my Saturday evening agenda was the Plush Making 102 panel upstairs. I always find it fascinating to learn just how much goes into making these adorable little bundles of thread and fabric. The folks who build these really put a lot of time and effort into their craft.

    The host of the panel also had a booth down in the vendor's hall and a really nice Coco Pommel plush for sale. I was tempted to buy it and nearly did. Unfortunately, my finances didn't completely agree with me.

    After the Plush Making panel I decided to head out and grab a bite to eat before making my way back up to my hotel room to just chill out and relax for a while.

    And the reason for a little bit of relaxation? Because afterwards it was time for yet more musical performances!

    A great many conventions host some sort of dances or similar musical performances on Saturday night. FillyCon had "FillyHarmonix", a collection of musicians laying down some sick beats to the delight of the audience. Musicians included Garnika, Silva Hound, Cyril the Wolf, Woodlore, Cosmic Kingdoms, and Worst Princess. Much fun was had by all.

    They even let folks fire off a confetti cannon!

    This was the result of the poor floor afterwards. I don't envy those who had to clean that mess up. You guys have my respect.

    After FillyHarmonix I lethargically meandered back up to my hotel room where I relaxed a little more before calling it a night.

    This brings us to Sunday and the last day of the convention. And these two ponies certainly look like they're ready to take on the day. Had to add a Trixie image to appease the mighty Sethisto of course. But it's all good, I have Blazing Star back there to keep an eye on her. No shenanigans, Trixie.

    Initially I had intended on attending many more panels on Sunday than I actually ended up going to due to simply being too tired. I blame staying up too late attending awesome musical events.

    But when I did finally get around to attending a panel, it was one I had attended at other conventions as well; The "*pomf*" panel, or panel for everything Fluffle Puff-related. These are just fun panels where the creator of Fluffle Puff gives folks a little behind-the-scenes look and more perspective on what goes into the characters and animations.

    Cosplay events are another convention staple I always like to attend, and sometimes even participate in. Pictured above are all the great entries in the FillyCon Cosplay Fashion Show. The Scootaloo ended up taking the first place prize this year. Congrats, Scoots! And congrats to everyone on your spectacular outfits!

    After the *pomf* panel and Cosplay Fashion Show I browsed around the vendor's hall a bit more and had fun just randomly chatting with folks until it was time for the Closing Ceremonies.

    Like Opening Ceremonies, I always enjoy attending the Closing Ceremonies as well to help bring a close to an awesome weekend.

    It had everything good convention Closing Ceremonies do:

    Thanks to all the staff, Guests of Honor, and attendees for making it a weekend to remember.

    Free con swag being handed out to the audience, in this case convention t-shirts and plushies.

    And lots of heartfelt moments for a great weekend of fun and friends that was now coming to a close.

    The convention was even presented with a token of appreciation by all the kids at the convention. Very sweet. I apologize it didn't show up well in the photo.

    After Closing Ceremonies concluded I hung around for a bit and simply chatted with folks about the fun weekend before heading back to my hotel room to retire for the evening and pack all my stuff up.

    Morning came and Monday had finally dawned upon us. The convention had ended and everyone was heading back to their normal lives once again. I finished packing all my stuff up, bid my convention roomies and other friends adieu before taking the not-terribly-long-but-still-quite-long-enough drive back home.

    Overall it was a really fun weekend. I got to attend a bunch of entertaining and interesting panels, met some really nice and cool people, and reveled in the magic of friendship. Yes, I totally just went there. There were some delays and minor hiccups along the way, but for a first year convention I think it went fairly well and was a success. They announced their plans to host it next year as well, so I hope to see some of you there again next year!

    Before I wrap this up, I'd like to give big thanks to everyone who helped make the weekend a spectacular one. The entire convention staff for planning the event and putting it all together. The hotel staff for being helpful and courteous. The Guests of Honor for taking the time to attend the convention and make it that much better. Whether that was playing great music, hosting incredible panels, or signing autographs for fans. And of course to all the attendees for just being there and making sure there was a convention to attend! Thank you, everyone!

    And one more special thanks goes out to Rapid Rescue for being so helpful even when there were so many other important things going on. I appreciate it.

    This retrospective has actually gone on a little longer than I had originally planned, so I will leave you a fun little slideshow video courtesy of Victor: