It was creepy to me, but not cult-like. The special part of Bronycon was, as much as there is more risque stuff, (art, panels, body pillows... not trying to start a fight, but there was that stuff), it was for everyone. At Ponycon, there was that stuff and it was 50/50 children and adults. And since the vendor hall was small, it made it more obvious.
The Crusader Clubhouse fixes that all and has the entertainment for them, but Ponycon if I remember struggled and had it all mixed together. The Rave was 2/3 under 14, that was weird. It was also advertised as an event for children in the area on twitter, but the majority of programming was a bit tougher for kids.
Not to mention, there was a wedding there the same day as Saturday, in the same building. They laughed and made fun of us and must have been embarassed.
It felt disjointed and we were bored most of the time. No kidding, I think we took a nap in the front lobby. I felt like there was nothing to do, and the stuff that was there was more anti-social and weirder. I mean, there was one person at the rave that started their set with the lion roar of MGM movies... wtf. That was the same issue with Fillycon, but that was even worse...
Smaller cons to me do not have a happy feel to me like big cons, and that is where they fall. I don't remember them even having a book for that year, nor a lanyard. Instead, there was one black and white paper and a wristband. That felt cheap.
Not to mention it must have been expensive as hell on the boardwalk, even in winter. That was cool though!