DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — "Bronies" are coming to the land of beards.
Organizers of New York City's third annual Ponycon are expecting upwards of 1,200 "My Little Pony" fans to attend a three-day conference at St. Francis College dedicated to all things pony, including a screening of the much anticipated, first-time look at the show's Season 5 trailer.
"My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," an animated series that first aired in 2010, stirred the imagination of men of all ages who took to online social forums to discuss the show's characters, music and graphics, according to Ponycon organizer Bill Crumlic.
The group quickly grew and named themselves "bronies" after bros who like ponies — and there was no irony to their fascination with the show.
"People were genuinely drawn to the creativity of the show's writing and music but, more importantly, the theme "friendship is magic" struck a chord in these guys," he said. "It's a lesson in learning how to be friends, how to be bros."
Crumlic was quick to point out that all bronies are not alike — they come in all ages, races, professions and can be found worldwide — and they are not creepy.
"I was hesitant at first to watch a little girl's show when my partner's niece first introduced us to it," he said.
"But later that day I found myself humming the music in my head — and I was hooked."
The term brony has gained so much steam that a bearded and plaid-clad bartender at Barn, in Park Slope, stopped pouring a beer to discuss the movement.
"Yeah I might consider myself a brony," he said. "But just because I have a 6-year-old daughter who loves the show — and it really is good."
But according to Crumlic, Ponycon is not just for bronies.
"Bronies will probably make up 80 percent of participants but the other 20 are families and collectors," he said.
Collectors have generally been a part of the "My Little Pony" fandom since the original franchise began in the '80s, he said. "Friendship is Magic" actors Andrea Libman, Vincent Tong, Ingrid Nilson and show music writer/composer Daniel Ingram will be at the event to talk with participants.
Ponycon has several activities for kids, including a tea party with the character Liberty, a dress-up party, arts and crafts and games.
For adults, there are panel discussions with topics like "Writing My Little Pony Fiction" and "Learning to Draw the Characters," along with a "History of the Traveling Pony Museum" — a collection of works by artists from the fan community.
Crumlic, who is anticipating participants from all over the world, is excited to bring the community together.
"It's a beautiful age that we live in where men who love the theme of friendship can come together," he said.
Ponycon takes place from Feb. 14 to 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Francis College, located at 180 Remson St. in Downtown Brooklyn.
Tickets cost $35 for one day and $75 for three days for adults, $15 for one day and $30 for three days for kids aged 6 -12. It's free for kids under 6.
Tickets are sold online or at the door.