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Jul
17th
2022

TrotCon 2022: Back in the Saddle Again · 7:06pm Jul 17th, 2022

"I'm back in the saddle again... out where a friend is a friend."

After a hiatus of some three years, I once more found myself on the floor of TrotCon. There is something wonderful, profoundly odd, and comforting about returning to a place you haven't been to in several years. On the one hand the scene is familiar, the hotel the same as always. Yet there is always a beautiful newness to it all, of seeing things through the eyes of the present and the now, versus the lens of memory.

Conventions, in person, are so much more than merely a gathering of like-minded people. They are a culture, a space, unto their own and unlike anything else one can experience. Here, what is otherwise confined and isolated to weird pockets of the internet is allowed to run riot, and it is glorious.

But enough of waxing poetic, it's time once more to reflect on and record my con going experiences.

The weather outside was being typically Ohio-ish: gray, gloomy, and spitting rain. This may have come as a surprise to regular TrotCon goers, who experience the other season of Ohio, roadwork blisteringly hot and humid summers. I'm used to it, in a sort of "begrudgingly resigned" fashion.

The theming this year a TrotCon really deserves a shout out: it's obvious the time away from live events was spent making this one the best to date in the theme department. Circus posters, decorations, and the event pavilion tent being the Mane Event "Big Top" really added to the unique and cohesive atmosphere. Well done all!

My first panel of the day was a heavy one: "Keeping Friendship Magic: The Pony I Wannabe", with Forward Progress. Forward talked alot about how the show has helped them deal with their own trauma and anxiety and depression. As someone who struggles with the latter two, I found it very emotional. It was very touching for Forward to have shared a clip of the first song they've sung in public with us all, especially knowing what it means in context to them. It was a real moment of venerability all in attendance were privileged to share in.

Fittingly, the heavens opened up during the panel, and while the tentage kept us all dry, the rain did significantly lower the temperature. I think this may be the only con I've ever been to where I've thought "Gee, I wish I had brought a jacket!". I was covered in goose bumps by the time the panel was over!

With the first panel over, I had but one mission: head for the dealer hall!

I don't believe I've told people here, but for the last three years I've had been trying to retreive a pair of G1 ponies that I commissioned a vendor to rehair. They are in what collectors call "bait" condition, which is to say very well loved, so I wasn't expecting much more than a simple, minimally intrusive preservation effort. Chalk it up to the museum professional in me but I am OK with objects showing some of their age. After all, no pony is perfect. Anyhow, the ponies were meant to be done by the end of 2019. That time came and went, and then COVID hit. It was very hard to get a hold of the vendor, with conventions being on indefinite hiatus, but I eventually got in touch again at the end of 2020. I got some pictures of them, still works in progress, at that point. I then was not able to establish contact throughout 2021. I posted something on a Collectors board about my experience, asking if I should just give up, and in true pony spirit they encouraged me to keep trying. Finally, I was able to reestablish communications and take delivery this TrotCon! I am so delighted to finally be able to bring my girls home again, for too long they have wandered far afield from home.

In the dealer hall, I found an Admiral Biscuit! I had a great conversation with him about horse harnesses as promised, carriages, and canal boats. And I finally obtained a Admiral Biscuit shirt, which I am in fact wearing at this vey moment ( he did have a medium after all!).

In the process, a wild WandererD and Always Dresses in Style appeared, and invited me out to lunch. Thank you both for your kind hospitality! We subsequently departed for a local ribs place, Iron Grill, along the way collecting a BadHorse and several other pony peoples. The outing took a little longer than I expected, I had hoped to make the Argembarger script read, admittedly mostly to see Andrea Libman again as it's been eons since she's made a con appearence. Nevertheless, the company was first rate and we had some excellent discussions about writing, G5, and a plethora of other topics. The Iron Grill's service was a bit slow, but the Southwest Salad was quite good, and it was great to meet their mascot feral cat, FeFe!

After my luncheon, I returned to the con, and made another foray into the vendors hall. With just a half hour before closing, I did a speed run of it. It was good to see many of the familiar faces there from cons past, still plying their trade. Out community has so many talented people, and it's great to see that some have been able to make at least a part of their living from it. I eventually bought an original piece of artwork from TeaCorgi. Much thanks to her for tolerating my lengthy deliberations over which of her many lovely works to take home with me, and for signing the work!

After that brief excursion, I headed over to the next panel, this time in the Salons. I caught the end of the Convention Stories panel, which once again featured Forward Progress, and friends. I enjoyed the stories shared of convention misadventures and quotes, and only wish I'd been able to share my story of meeting with Katrina and a picture of us with our insulin pumps.

Then came the decided highlight of the panels, featuring guess who, entitled "Oops, all Glimmer!". Although I'm hardly a hardcore Glimmer fan, it was really fun to listen to a deep dive by Forward into what makes her such a relatable character for some many people. It was great to see a packed room, too, of people brought together solely by their love for a secondary character. It's these kinds of panels that make our fandom great!

During the panel, I took some time to note down what I like about Starlight Glimmer:
1. She was a real challenger to Twilight, and more or less her equal in terms of power, when she was a villain, which was something we didn't see very often.
2. Although I was initially skeptical of her reformed character at first, seeing her like many others did as Twi-lite, it was really refreshing at the point of her introduction to see another pony who really had to struggle with friendship once again.
3. I really liked the Trixie-Starlight relationship. Two out of control magic geeks with Odd Couple vibes? Yes please!
4. She was in some darn good episodes! I loved that she is one of the few non-Mane 6 friends who got to save the world: something that, given the themes of spreading friendship, harmony, and magic the show really should have done more often.

The panel also featured the live premier (with a brief intermission, remember always to change your reels before the film runs out projectionists!) of a short by fan animator Minty Root, entitled "Missing Out". The product of two years hard work, it was clearly a labor of love. The short featured, of course, Starlight Glimmer. In it, Starlight travels back in time to experiences the memories of the Mane 6 she missed out on first hoof, after her magical recreation of Golden Oaks library proves inaccurate. But, a few missteps on her part tip off past Twilight to her true identity and she is called out. Eventually, Starlight learns that when you have good friends, you should focus on making great new memories with them, and not brood over missing out. It was a great little short, the equal of any episode, and a really touching meditation on all of the wonderful memories we have of our first few years in the fandom.

After that panel, it was time for me to say goodbye to TrotCon, and get headed home. I had a great time again this year, and I can't wait till next year! It was so great to see everyone again, face to face, after so long apart. These last few years have been hard on everyone, and things aren't great at present, but together we are so much stronger and happier. Until next time, happy trails my pony friends!

Report BlueBook · 117 views · #TrotCon2022
Comments ( 5 )

I’m glad you had a great time, Blue. You’re right, of course; a convention, especially a Pony convention, is a special world unto itself and an amazing experience. No matter how many times one attends, the magic is always there!

Wish I could have made TrotCon this year and visited with you. Take care and say hello to GreyMane for me.

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It was a lot of fun. I don't know if I saw Blue here, but I saw a lot of old friends and enjoyed myself. Had to limit my time active due to disability, but I'm still learning to manage that.

Lunch was a blast, as was chatting with you and OleGrayMane later in the evening. I wish you could've been around on Sunday as well, but it was great meeting you both! I got to meet a lot of new faces this weekend - of everyone we had lunch with, I'd only met Bad Horse previously (at TrotCon 2021, my first pony con since the 2011 Pony Fair). That made this year's TrotCon my first repeat con, and it was significantly bigger than it was last December.

Nevertheless, the company was first rate and we had some excellent discussions about writing, G5, and a plethora of other topics. The Iron Grill's service was a bit slow, but the Southwest Salad was quite good, and it was great to meet their mascot feral cat, FeFe!

I agree that the service wasn't the best, but the food was good, the company was great, and FeFe was totally adorable. I was shocked when we got back to the hotel and it was 4 o'clock. I completely missed two panels I wanted to attend (scheduled against one another, of course: The Horrors of G1 & How A Single Garfield Strip Changed My Life). We had such a great discussion I completely lost track of time. Oddly enough, I didn't make it to any panels Saturday or Sunday. I kept getting distracted, meeting people, putting faces to screen names, and reconnecting with folks I met in December.

Oh, and buying things. I added multiple ponies to my G1, G3, and G4 herds this past weekend! I'll put together a blog tomorrow after I've had time to sort out pics and craft some coherent thoughts.

Conventions, in person, are so much more than merely a gathering of like-minded people. They are a culture, a space, unto their own and unlike anything else one can experience. Here, what is otherwise confined and isolated to weird pockets of the internet is allowed to run riot, and it is glorious.

I'm a newbie to cons, and I'm still learning the ins & outs of them, but I think that sums it up nicely.

I'm glad it sounds like things went so well. :)

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