Cathy Weseluck and Tara Strong

Cathy Weseluck, left, and Tara Strong, two of the voice actors in "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls," attend a press event for the movie at the Los Angeles Film Festival. (Angela Weiss / Getty Images)

The sound of laughter and children's chatter could be heard on the plaza at L.A. Live Saturday afternoon as families gathered in large white tents to partake in the Los Angeles Film Festival Family Day.

Little girls and boys with painted faces and fancy new hairdos played in a series of booths on the plaza. Children could busy themselves with Play-Doh and other toys, watch live performances, meet police and firemen and see the inside of their vehicles, make crafts, have their faces painted, dress up for a photo shoot and more.

Dressed in a Hello Kitty shirt and pink tutu with dramatic stage makeup and a cardboard rabbit mask on her face, 3-year-old Maile Melanson made Play-Doh muffins with her mom and dad.

CHEAT SHEET: L.A. Film Festival

After much consideration, she decided her favorite part of the day was watching cartoons in one of the tents.

Allison and Kevin Melanson brought Maile out for an afternoon of fun, but wished they had had longer for her to enjoy all the free activities.

Looking at a photo of Maile in her full stage makeup, a wig and a big rimmed hat, Allison smiled and offered her daughter a chance to see herself.

"You looked so different with that wig on, Maile," she said. "We've never seen you like that before."

After playing, snacking and getting makeovers, families walked over to the Regal Cinema theater to stroll the purple carpet and get their photos taken outside the premiere of "My Little Pony: Equestria Girls."

Inside the theater, parents and their children sat alongside fans in their 20s and 30s who grew up with the "My Little Pony" franchise.

The film tells the story of pony Twilight Sparkle, who must retrieve her stolen crown by jumping through a portal into an alternate world. There she becomes human and must make friends with classmates to become princess of the fall formal and get her crown back.

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As the characters trotted on-screen, viewers yelled out and applauded when they saw their favorites from "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" brought back to life.

Dressed as their favorite pony characters, many yelled out, "We love you, Twilight Sparkle," as the protagonist faced obstacles along her journey.

As the credits began to roll, little girls jumped out of their seats to go dance under the screen. A pair of light-up shoes glinted in the darkness as the girls laughed and jumped around to the music.

The lights came up in the theater and a few little ones, tired after a long day, began to cry. More than one said, "But Mommy, I want to do it again."

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dana.ferguson@latimes.com