Baltimore Conventions – BronyCon
Baltimore is a good city if you want to visit and see conventions that are outside the standard conventions. Baltimore Hosts three art related conventions.
Otakon, (moving to Washington D.C. in 2017) BronyCon, and Baltimore Comic-Con.
I have had the pleasure to visit all three conventions at The Baltimore Convention Center , I will be writing about all three in separate articles.
BronyCon is a My Little Pony Convention (MLP). MLP followers go by the term Brony (used for both Males and Females) and Pegasisters . (A combination of Bro and pony or Pegasus and sister)
BronyCon started off as a small Convention in Jan 2011, with the attendance of 100 people. It began as a quarterly event; the fan-base grew quickly, too quickly to continue a quarterly con and in Jun 2012 started off as an annual event with a draw of 4000 people.
The fandom continued to expand and for Aug 2013 the attendance doubled to 8407, slowly increasing to 9607 for Aug 2014, and Aug 2015 Bronycon broke the TEN THOUSAND mark, with attendance of 10011.
What is the BronyCon experience?
My first experience was walking to the Baltimore Convention Center watching a person dressed as Dr Whooves (yes a Pony Version of Dr Who) wandering down the sidewalk on the way to the Convention Center. What is odd is watching a person in a pony suit and then looking at the surrounding people on the street, they walk by, looking around as if this is a normal everyday thing, no reaction and no staring. This may be a byproduct of Otakon’s presence in Baltimore for many years.
Entering into the Convention Center, security is visible and present, both convention center and BronyCon staff, but it soon fades into the background noise. On opening day there is a slight rushed feeling to get in and get into the mix. BronyCon of the three conventions presents the best atmosphere of acceptance and a happy feeling.
BronyCon at the registration desk presents to all con goers not only a admission badge, but also promotes cards to attach to the visible badge, similar to autism cards. (See Here)
They have a green card for welcoming contact, a yellow for saying friends I know are ok, but I prefer to be left alone, and red for I don’t want contact at all right now.
Ages of the people attending the convention range from seven years old up to the 50’s or so, with the median hovering around 28.
BronyCon merchandise ranges from Etched glass, to comics and stuffed animals to artwork and quite a number of artists doing commission work, including the MLP staff artists. Offerings include a game room, panels related to the comic and fandom as well as with most conventions of this type, an associated charity event. In 2015, BronyCon collected $30,450 for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.
The Baltimore Sun, unfortunately took a view and quoted one of the attendees referring to Bronydom as “a community of otherwise social outcasts,” and seemed to miss the intent and feeling of BronyCon in the photos they took. In a place where part of the city burned, BronyCon offered smiles and a welcome to anyone who attended, making it a safe, fun and comfortable place for everyone.