Update – October 22nd
I guess we knew this might happen. Things have gotten worse. Despite some improvements here and there, in Vanhoover and many other places around the world, we have seen a rise in the daily cases of COVID-19 with warnings that it will only get worse in the near future.
The Canadian borders look to be closed to non-essential travel for the foreseeable future and likely right up until Vanhoover Pony Expo in 2021, keeping a good ¼ of our attendees from being able to come. Global travel restrictions are still in place and some theorize we may see restrictions for inter-provincial travel as well. VIP guests are uneasy attending in person and are looking at virtual attendance, at best.
So, here’s our plan now. Vanhoover Pony expo 2021 will STILL HAPPEN on Friday, January 8th and Saturday the 9th, 2021 . We will be a virtual, online-only pony event for 2021 – with a twist!
While we’ll be streaming from our website and discord channel, we will still use our hotel and mini theatre with our awesome pro streaming team for a professional stream look just like our previous years, and we will still have all the awesome swag and theming our fans know us for. We have contacted the fine people involved with PonyFest online and confirmed our use of their proven and awesome streaming platform. We will still have a bucking awesome dance with great DJs. We will still allow people to book hotel rooms for their own social bubble (with absolutely no parties or gatherings allowed), and we will still have the ability for people to see events virtually, purchase from vendors, and buy swag with safe pickup available while they enjoy their hotel stay, or ship out to any location for a reasonable cost.
For instance, here’s what you can expect:
- An awesome discord channel and equally awesome staff/mods
- Streaming panels
- VIP panels
- Costume contests via webcam
- Live DJs for home dancing awesomeness
- Themed skits with your favourite Vanhoover mascot performers
- meet/greet webcam events, both with themes and just for the heck of it
- VIP meet/greet via webcam for purchase
- Swag for purchase through online vendors and the convention store
- Electronic Gaming Tournaments
- MLP CCG tournaments
- Prizes for the best in-stream costume, unique location, video backdrop, etc
For those able to come to our con hotel in person, we are still working out how that will look for you. You’ll have access to the professional stream wherever you are within the hotel. If you are running a panel or DJing, you will have the option to do so from our theatre, saving yourself the hassle of setting up anything yourself. We are working out how merch pickup could work in a safe way too!
If you purchased your membership for this year, we encourage you to change your membership to a spirit badge at any time by going through the registration system again! Email our registration team <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you run into any snags. Remember, your membership is how we cover our costs, and we greatly appreciate your contribution so we can keep this year’s mystery going!
Lastly, we need YOUR HELP! Since we are now virtual, if you have the ability to run a panel, host a gaming tournament, manage an event, help with our streaming team, or help moderate our discord channel, all of these could be done from anywhere in the world! Please reach out to us – we’d love to have you on the team!
We’re still working out specifics, but rest assured, Vanhoover Pony Expo will be an event to remember! So brush off that fedora and magnifying glass. We have a mystery to solve!
Update – July 10th
Wow, these are some tricky times, aren’t they? It’s a mystery in itself how we’ll ever get back to things like fan conventions, like Vanhoover. For months, we’ve been looking at all of our options, and one thing is certain: Vanhoover Pony Expo WILL HAPPEN in January, 2021.
How will we do that? Our plan is to work within recommendations from our local government’s health authority. As of the date of this message, Vancouver and the surrounding areas have done an excellent job of squashing the curve, and our daily cases have dropped into the single, and occasionally double, digits. If this trend continues, 50 people are assuredly able to be in a single room together, and potentially more based on Phase 3 guidelines currently in place. You can see current stats from our area (Vancouver Costal) and the current local government recommendations.
That said, safety will be number one. Among other policies, we will require face masks at ALL TIMES in public space. Catering events will be limited/cancelled if necessary (sorry, ice cream social may be part of that). We will have sanitization stations in as many locations as possible. Seating, if present, will be spaced apart in the same fashion as movie theatres have now done in this area. Vendors halls will have mandatory distancing. Guests/VIPs will have less physical contact. Lines will require enforced distancing.
Vanhoover Pony Expo is fortunate to be a smaller event that can realistically expect to keep distance between attendees. Our venue has already assured us that we will have as much space as possible to make this realistic.
Two weeks before the event, if we find that the health concern is heightened, we may opt to cancel in-person events, and instead allow people to utilize their private hotel rooms in their own social bubbles to watch events over our professional grade livestream of our full stage. Yes, we will have a full stage, even if the only in-person audience is our cameras! We have been livestreaming our event since year one and have plenty of experience making it awesome.
Can you still participate if you cannot attend in person? YES! You can pre-register with confidence that you WILL get pony for your money, all while supporting our little Canadian pony con.
All paid memberships for people unable to attend may be purchased as or converted to a non-attending ‘spirit badge’ at any time and will have items such as badge, lanyard, conbook, and more, shipped to them, anywhere in the world. We’re even working on providing packaging of other items, including potential vendor hall purchases, charity auction items, and VIP autographs, all from the comfort of your home! For Patron and Alicorn memberships, we’re also working on private webcam time with our VIPs and vendors hall!
Unsure if you can cross the border in January? Not sure if you’ll be comfy coming to a con by then? No problem! By supporting our con with your paid pre-registration, you can convert to a spirit badge at any time, and cancel your hotel room with no penalties up to 24 hours before your arrival. All your swag will still get to you and you can attend the con virtually instead!
This is a new idea and a new approach to having a fan convention, and we’re still developing our strategy. The entire Vanhoover Pony Expo team all agreed we want to make this happen, and will be constantly revising and building the best policies we can to allow us all to pony as safely as we can. As always, we welcome your feedback to our social media and email!