I’m going to state from the get-go today that my pictures from this particular summer outing are not good. Why? Because I was in shock for most of the day. My Mother-in-Law, Carolann, and I…took the girls…to…PONY-CON.
We didn’t know! We had NO IDEA. We…got quite the education one rainy Saturday in July.
It all started when I read about a “My Little Pony Convention”, also called “Pony-Con” in the paper. Kelly loves My Little Pony, hey, Goomommy will be in town, maybe if the guys go do “guy things” (I assume they watch Bruce Willis movies and fart, but I don’t ask because I don’t really want to know), we should take the girls. Sure. Innocent enough, proving I’m so naive to not have known the suffix -Con would indicate a level of attachment not found naturally in nature.
Saying “Kelly likes My Little Pony” and we should go to Pony-Con, is like saying I like the occasional game of UNO, and therefore I should go to Gen-Con. Better yet, I laughed at a Far Side Comic in 1995, and therefore I would enjoy Comic-Con. What I’ve now learned, is that to properly attend anything ending in -Con, one should be over the age of 18, and dress from head to toe in a costume only people fully schooled in your brand of -Con can identify. Keep reading, there will be a test later.
After paying an unbelievable admission fee, we decided we were doing IT ALL, no matter what. “No matter what” soon came into focus. We had to cut through a panel discussion being hosted by Hasbro in order to get to the Bingo Hall. In so doing, we heard a MAN…yes, that’s right…a MAN, dressed in My Little Pony gear, asking a representative from the makers of what we will call “MLP”: “I’ve noticed such and such pony has recently broken these other blah-blah-blah ponies off into a clique. What’s the meaning of this? Why is this happening, do you think?” I later learned that male followers of MLP are known as “Bronies”. Well bless their little hearts. Be yourself! Be proud! Be…seen in public in a full pink pony costume.
I looked at Goomommy and she looked at me, and we both mouthed the word, “RUN”.
We found refuge in the Bingo Hall where there were rows of adults, playing MLP Bingo, using and inhaling sweet tarts as markers. Sara asked, “Um, Momma? Where are the kids?” Maybe playing another game? Maybe doing a craft? Where WERE the kids? Where did these people find so many adult-sized MLP tshirts? What was up with everyone’s hair? Are these do’s supposed to look like…fluorescent pony manes? Wait…YES.
We played a few rounds of MLP Bingo, which felt like walking into a Genetics 301 Exam having never taken Genetics 101. At the speed of light, the Bingo caller held up illustrations and rattled off names like Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash (I can get that one), Apple Jack (apparently of K-Stew level MLP fame), Sweetiebelle, Cheerilee, and on, and on. Guess what? There are BILLIONS of My Little Ponies, and something I already knew: to the untrained eye, they all look EXACTLY ALIKE. Luckily, Kelly is trained, and played to win. Goomommy and Sara, on the other hand, looked like they’d been hit by a Pony Train made entirely of Sweet Tarts. If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em.
This session was followed by crafts, and Kelly slipped into some sort of happiness coma. We tried to follow her, we really did, but as the day wore on, the costumes grew both more elaborate and bizarre, and Carolann and I started texting Greg with messages like, “If we’re not home by 4, we may be dead. Send a search team.” I scribbled notes to Carolann which read, “Whatever you want for Christmas from me…double it.”
Kelly was dying to see the Exhibition Hall, which was a beautiful rainbow of ponies of all shapes and sizes and colors. She brought her change purse, and a stuffed animal was on the top of her list. BUT, as I now know about these type of events, most of the “stuff” we saw was not for sale. It was for swap or for display. Not a single stuffed animal MLP to be bought for any price. However, we did find a “vintage” MLP mansion with a tag that read “281″. I asked the owner if this was its number in a silent auction. HA! It was the PRICE. I tried to light-heartedly mention my daughter’s Barbie Mansion didn’t cost half that. He replied, “but this comes with all the accessories”. UM? The Barbie Mansion has a WORKING CHANDELIER, when I realized at that moment, I was at the wrong -Con. I belong at Barbie-Con, and I’ll say no more about the value of plastic abodes for cartoon characters, except to mention the circa 1982 Barbie Mansion which comes in 3-sections is priceless.
We scored lottery tickets for a stuffed animal raffle just as an all-male MLP band began to JAM. So loudly I could only read Sara’s lips when she screamed, “Something is very wrong about this day and GET ME OUTTA HERE!”
When we got into the hall, we ran into the line-up for the Costume Contest. Sara tried to say, “Oh…My…God….”, but before she could say it, Kelly squealed, “It’s like a day made just for ME.” We all looked at each other and decided to suck it up. Kelly has EARNED Pony-Con, no matter how unexpectedly uncomfortable it might be. When a 6 foot 4 Brony in full costume knocked into me, I nearly had a panic attack, but I persevered.
We stayed for the child and adult costume contest. We stayed for the band. We voted on the original art contest (who knew a hand-beaded MLP purse could be so lovely?). We entered every raffle they had, with me secretly hoping we wouldn’t win anything, for fear Pony-Con was some kind of gateway drug to…what? I really don’t know, and at some point, I just stopped asking questions. We stayed until Kelly bartered with a vendor to sell her a gigantic Care Bear for $5. We stayed for the stuffed animal raffle, where we were surrounded by people much taller than I am, and I with the only children. One by one, grown adults screamed with happiness as they won stuffed My Little Ponies. As they neared the end, we won the smallest one. I couldn’t help myself, and at the top of my lungs (and I was in theater…I can project), “US! That’s OUR number! WE WON GIRLS! WE WON!” Kelly was veclempt. Sara was relieved. Goomommy was probably Ninja-fighting a Brony in the hall. She raised 2 Eagle Scouts and one Auntie Amanda…Goomommy knows better than to show fear at Pony-Con.
Upon leaving, Kelly grabbed my hand and said, “Thank you Mommy. Thank you, thank you. What a wonderful day. I will never forget it.” Oh, my sweet Boo Boo Chicken. Nor will I. I promise…nor will I.