With Ponyville Ciderfest coming to a very successful close, and me having to come out of the fog back into everyday, mature, adult life, I wanted to take a step back and review this incredibly awesome weekend...Thursday
That morning, while sitting at work waiting for 4pm to roll around and mark the start of my upcoming weekend, I decided to check my hotel reservations one last time to make sure everything was in order and ready to go. I AM GLAD THAT I DID. It turned out that I had the hotel room booked Friday, and Saturday nights only! What happened was, I booked the hotel room months ago when the plan was still to wake up early and head up to the con on Friday, since Milwaukee is so close to where I live near Chicago. Those plans later changed when my room mates and I found out about the bar crawl that was going on Thursday night, but I must have forgotten to update our room reservation.
So, knowing that I had plans set in stone for that night, but no hotel room, I'm flipping out. I call the hotel, desperately trying to update my hotel reservation last minute. No dice. The only room the hotel claims to have available is some luxury suite with one king bed, all for a premium price.
Now, I had some insight about the con, since I knew several of the people running it. I knew the projected numbers wouldn't be enough to fill the room block we were given, so I called bullshit on the hotel and searcher Trivago. Sure enough, there were standard rooms available (not at con rate, but oh well), so I booked a room and told my friends that all was cool, but we'd have to switch rooms on Friday.
That night, after dealing with Chicago/Milwaukee rush hour traffic, we arrived at the hotel, and met this incredibly friendly gentleman at the front desk. He noticed my two room bookings, and told us he'd give us the same room for all three nights, so we wouldn't have to switch rooms after all. After feeling so embarrassed all day about making such a rooky mistake, this was just the best news ever.
After unloading our bags in the room and parking my car, my friends and I hit up pre-reg, then headed out to the bar crawl to meet up with the rest of the group, already at the first bar. The bar crawl was an absolute blast! I got to meet and talk to Final Draft of Everfree Radio, as well as Ingrid Nilson (the voice of Maud Pie) and her boyfriend. Both are incredibly sweet individuals. Just the epitome of friendly. At one bar, Ingrid even gave me half of a bottle of cider that she didn't want to finish. How many ponies in this fandom get to say that they got to share cider with Maud!? That alone made my night!
I ended the night at a bar called Safe House, which is a spy-themed bar and restaurant, complete with speakeasy entrance, secret passwords, and puzzle games to be played. Such fun! There was a magic act performed by one of the bar tenders that really blew me away. His sleight of hand was some Vegas level stuff. Or, at least, it definitely seemed that way. We all at that point were pretty inebriated. Friday
I woke up without a hangover! That was some incredible luck after getting pretty hammered the previous night.
I made it down in time to catch the opening ceremony; the incredibly.....lack-luster opening ceremony. There were some registration problems early on that kept most of the attendees waiting in line right outside of the mane events hall as the ceremony was in progress. Luckily, after a little while, registration smoothed out and everybody was soon helped.
I spent most of my day attending panels, wandering the con floor, and browsing the vendor hall. The day WAS almost ruined when I went up to my hotel room mid-day, and caught the hotel staff just about to start purging our stuff from the room, but after explaining the above mentioned situation of having stacked bookings for the same room, they backed off. Seriously though, if I hadn't felt compelled to visit my room when I did, my friends and I would have had all our possessions removed from the hotel room by the hotel staff. That would have been enough to ruin my day.
The more notable part of my Friday started in the evening, with the Grand Galloping Gala and private VIP concert put on by Black Griffon, Andrea Libman, and the Crebers. Yes, yes. I was one of the spoiled ones with the Alicorn-tier conbadge. Despite a rocky start when I realized that my event tickets, which were in my hotel room sitting safely on the desk, got thrown out by the cleaning person, I was able to get replacement tickets and got to enjoy a beautifully performed concert / comedy show put on by Black Griffon and Michelle Creber. The Gala was also great, despite the live entertainment cancelling last minute. I got to meet a bunch of awesome people and make a lot of new friends, some of which stayed to play Cards Against Humanity with my group of friends to close out the night.Saturday
After oversleeping and missing the Whose Line panel, I had a quick breakfast and put on my Daring Do cosplay, then immediately went to G.M. Barrow's Daring Do panel. Being both a fan of Daring Do even before the books came out, and a fan of the books themselves, this was the one panel of the weekend that I didn't want to miss. It was so much fun being dressed as Daring Do, while learning about the background of the book series, and Miss Barrow's (if it's Missus, I do apologies) process on writing a fictional book series from a fictional show. It was very interesting. Also, please don't quote me on this, but we also learned that while more Daring Do books can neither be confirmed or denied, the series is selling very well. *hint**hint*
A good portion of my day was spent wandering the main floor again, having pictures taken, talking to people, and sitting around drawing. I got to meet, and hang out with Toxic-Mario
, and Frist44
, all of whom are awesome, friendly people. If you don't have them in your watch list already, I highly recommend that you watch them. They all are very talented artists, and I'm so happy I got the chance to either see them again, or meet them for the first time at this convention.
I unfortunately missed the VIP meet and greet due to myself incorrectly reading the schedule, but I got to the cocktail hour right on time. THAT was awesome. Another scheduling snafu caused the VIPs to arrive a bit late, so it was myself and maybe 4 other people sitting at the lounge bar for about half an hour, taking full advantage of the open bar while we patiently waited. Then, when the VIPs arrived, it was such a small group of people, I got a chance to converse with each of the Voice actors and other VIPs, all of whom are super awesome, friendly people. It was such a chill atmosphere, it made the perfect end to the night.Sunday
I once again overslept and didn't make it to the actual convention until about noon, but the majority of my last day at Ponyville Ciderfest was spent in the main hall catching the last few panels of the con.
After the hilariously awesome Voice Actor Blind Reading panel, I got to partake in my first charity auction. Sure, I've watched them at other cons I've been to, but this time I was there to bid. I unfortunately didn't win the Daring Do custom treasure box like I had wanted, but in the end, I made off with a sophiecabra
original signed by Ashleigh Ball, which is something that I have always wanted to own.
After that, the closing ceremony happened, being much more upbeat than the opening ceremony. I said my good-bye's to people I met throughout the weekend, and then had to make the depressing trip back to real life.
All in all, this convention, despite it's quirks and small issues at the start, was absolutely fantastic. Being a first year con, of course nothing would be perfect. In the end, though, it was run incredibly professionally and was immensely enjoyable. I, admittedly, am biased since I had the top-tier sponsor badge, but from what I gathered from other attendees, Ponyville Ciderfest was a huge success. I want to express my gratitude toward the Con Chair Corey, Cutie Corral, Final Draft, Dusty Kat, and everyone else who made this convention as awesome as it was. Congrats guys! I can't wait to do it all again next year!
Whew...To those who made it through my mini-novel, cut me some slack if there is a misspelling or two, or if something I wrote doesn't make a lick of sense. I don't write journals like these very often, and I just don't feel like proofreading it. Long story short, I had an amazing time at Ponyville Ciderfest. If anyone can make it out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin next November, I highly, highly recommend attending. Wow did I have fun.