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Cover Story

A visit to the My Little Pony Fair and Convention

The plastic pastel pony toys aren't just for little girls anymore

Photo: Christopher Balogh, License: N/A

Christopher Balogh

Aimée Findlay, a 30-year-old court reporter from Greenv ille, N.C., is not shy about expressing her love for My Little Pony.

Photo: Group Photo courtesy of Aimée Findlay, License: N/A

Group Photo courtesy of Aimée Findlay

Welcome to the herd: Conventioneers prove that My Little Pony fandom doesn't always end with childhood.

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Haaland says he was introduced to the Friendship is Magic series by his friend Triforce Mike, aka Mike Pandel, who was killed last year when he was hit by a car while riding his bike. (Triforce Mike was also the winner of our Best Local Big Shot category in our Best of Orlando 2012 Readers Poll.)

"You know you have some friends that are taste testers, and Mike was one of mine," Haaland says. "He turned me onto great movies and other cool stuff, but I thought he might be trolling me with My Little Ponies."

Turns out, that wasn't the case at all. Haaland took Pandel's recommendation and has since joined equestriadaily.com, a brony forum, and the local facebook group, Central Florida Bronies, which has 595 members. He's even brought My Little Pony events to his store.

"We had a winter wrap-up party, because the ponies change the seasons [in the show]," he says. "We had a cloud-spinning game, where they had to move cotton balls with their noses."

My Little Pony has also been good for business.

"We couldn't keep the My Little Pony blind boxes [sealed assortments of pony-related stuff] in stock," Haaland says. "We sold four cases, 24 in each, in less than a week."

At the convention, there were some children – mainly little girls – as well as adults. They tried to color in the lines at drawing tables, sat Indian-style to play Pony Bingo and Price That Pony (with their parents), and skipped with glee with newly purchased ponies to add to their own collections. The parents of the children held their hands as they walked across the vendor floor, peeling their little eyes from the Gen4 ponies on display.

The convention started to die down as the closing hour neared. At the drawing tables sat Aimée Findlay, still dressed as Rainbow Dash, next to a group of little girls with their mothers. Her father stood steps away from her, holding a newly purchased poster, as she colored. The little girls sitting next to her didn't even think twice about an adult dressed as a pony joining in the coloring fun. There was no judging or snickering. They were just enjoying their favorite ponies.

And if you ask the adult fans of My Little Pony, that's how it should be. One of the tenets of the new pony philosophy espoused in the Friendship Is Magic series is that your friends can be different from you. Sometimes, apparently, they can be very different.

"Age is just a number, I didn't really mind that I am as interested in My Little Pony as the kids that attended. And it was a lot of fun getting my picture taken with them," Findlay says. "I know, when I was little, I enjoyed going places and seeing the characters I loved from TV and movies come to life. Cosplayers [costume players] really make people happy with what they can accomplish, and I am proud and excited to be able to help share some of that joy and magic."


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