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News / Life / Clark County Life

The mane event: Huge My Little Pony collection showcased at Cascade Park Community Library

By Monika Spykerman, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 10, 2024, 6:08am
4 Photos
What's pink, blue, yellow, sometimes sparkly and cute as heck? This huge collection of My Little Pony toys on display at the Cascade Park library through January.
What's pink, blue, yellow, sometimes sparkly and cute as heck? This huge collection of My Little Pony toys on display at the Cascade Park library through January. (Monika Spykerman/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

If the names Rainbow Dash, Pinky Pie and Twilight Sparkle mean anything to you, or if you can sing the theme song from the animated TV series “Friendship Is Magic,” then this exhibit of My Little Pony toys is just your trough of hay.

The massive herd of 344 ponies can be seen at the Cascade Park Community Library through the end of January and possibly longer, owing to the exhibit’s popularity.

In a delightfully mysterious twist, the owner of the collection wishes to remain anonymous, said Tak Kendrick, FVRLibraries’ communications and marketing director. The collector used to work at the Cascade Park library and now works elsewhere in the district, he said.

“She started collecting at age 4, and she never stopped,” Kendrick said. “What’s displayed at the library accounts for only 90 percent of her collection.”

If You Go

What: My Little Pony display

Where:Cascade Park Community Library, 600 N.E. 136th Ave., Vancouver

When:Through the end of January during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. (The library will be closed Jan. 15 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.) The display may be extended through February.

The only tidbit of information posted with the display states the collection began in 1982, when Hasbro sold the first My Little Pony figures. Kendrick didn’t speculate as to why the collector’s childhood love of My Little Pony toys metamorphosed into grown-up obsession. What is clear is the collector is far from alone in passionate pursuit of My Little Pony, which has spawned TV shows, movies, fan conventions and a 2012 documentary, “Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony,” exploring the toys’ broad appeal across genders and ages.

My Little Pony collectors’ groups can be found from coast to coast. Organizations such as the My Little Pony Preservation Project specialize in refurbishing vintage ponies, originally marketed as My Pretty Pony in 1981 before being rebranded as My Little Pony in 1982.

What’s so arresting about the Cascade Park display is how it reveals differences in each successive “generation” (as the collectors say) of ponies released by Hasbro. Viewers can clearly see how the toys have been redesigned over the decades to reflect the aesthetic zeitgeist of the time, rendering the ponies even more collectible. Some of the rarer My Little Pony toys (with intriguing monikers like Nirvana, Mimic and Rapunzel) can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It’s hard to guess what the collection at the Cascade Park library might be worth, but it’s likely a number that would make even Pinkie Pie blush.

Rachael Ries, Cascade Park branch manager, said the display has created quite a bit of cross-generational interest. She described a woman who visited the exhibit with her daughter to point out which ponies she played with as a child.

On Tuesday morning, nearly every passerby cast an appraising eye at the collection, showcased in large wood-and-glass cabinets to the right of the library’s entrance. One viewer suggested the collector had perhaps too much time on her hands, while another visitor exclaimed over the ponies’ cuteness and couldn’t resist taking a photo. The pony show has proven so popular the display may be extended into February, Ries said.

If the ponies are giving you déjà vu, that’s because it’s not the first time the collection has been on view at the Cascade Park library, said Ries, who cheerfully admitted she played with My Little Pony toys as a child. This is the second or third time the owner has shared her collection, though this year’s display is “by far the largest,” Ries said.

This My Little Pony collection may be unusual in its scope, but it’s only one collection among many displayed at local libraries. Ries said that Cascade Park’s commodious cabinets have showcased everything from beautiful beads to student artwork to information about Vancouver trees and trails.

Ries said the My Little Pony collector collaborated earlier this year with another library employee to display memorabilia from the band BTS.

Kendrick said anyone who’d like to share a collection can fill out a form at fvrl.org/exhibit-form or simply talk to their local branch manager. Who knows? The next collection you see at the library may be your own.

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