Last Saturday, a group of Bronies and Pegasisters, fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, got together at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne for an afternoon of sun, sand, and pony talk. They'd promised a party with burgers, beach games, and brony-style friendship.
So you know we had to check it out.
The Bronies and the occasional Pegasister (aka, a female fan) enjoyed a classically hot summer day on the beach with snacks, NERF play, and a MLP-related debate here and there. Steven Rodriguez has been the Miami-Dade Brony-in-charge since April 2012, and he's great at making even those new to Brony fandom welcome, offering food, drink, and brohoofs (fist-bumps) for all comers.
But just about all the bronies in attendance were eager to educate this non-brony journalist on how deep the Pony-hole goes: While there are six main characters on the show, a lot of bronies' fandom can center around background characters, many of which don't even speak or get more than a few seconds of screen time. These characters include Dr. Hooves (named after Dr. Who, since the pony's cutie mark is an hourglass) and Octavia, a musician.
When a discussion erupted over whether Octavia plays a cello or upright bass, one of the guys remarked, "See, even that is too nerdy for me." Just goes to show that fandom is a matter of degree, not of kind. In fact, the conversations didn't just center on MLP--attendees also gave each other recommendations on comics, video games, and thoughts on upcoming movies.
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But all of that other side discussion stopped when someone brought up Equestria Girls, a movie which turns the ponies into high school human girls. Don't even get these folks STARTED on Equestria Girls. Responses ranged from a good-natured "Oh, it wasn't THAT bad," to decrying Hasbro for clearly making a merchandising money-grab through doll sales with disregard for the MLP spirit. (The dolls look more like Bratz dolls than like the actual movie version of the characters. Nothing friendly or magical about that at all.)
Even non-Brony friends got in on the action and had a good time. One Brony ally expressed his support, saying that he appreciated the positive message the show provides. Another said, "I don't watch the show, but if it's on, it just makes you happy!" (Closeted brony?) A mother joined in on the fun, helping cook and take photos for the group, generally facilitating the fun times: "They come out, have a good time, enjoy each other's company -- it's great!"
Interested in meeting like-minded MLP fans? The group's next event is in Boca, with the next Miami-Dade event at Pincho Factory (dates and times TBA). Check out the Bronies of South Florida Meetup page and their Facebook.