Posted on | April 9, 2014 | No Comments
Since 2006, Anthrocon has been held in Pittsburgh. A yearly event with attendance that is steadily increasing, Anthrocon is the world’s largest Furry convention, which saw over 5,500 attendees in 2013.
So what’s a “Furry”?
“One does not ‘become’ a Furry,” said Uncle Kage. “One is born with a fascination with animal characters; it is only later in life that one finds that there is a word for it and an entire fandom devoted to it,” according to Chairman and CEO of Anthrocon, Inc., Samuel Conway (aka Uncle Kage) — a chemist by profession.
“Furries are dreamers, every one of us. Now, if you ask, ‘What type of people are dreamers?’ the answer is: students, scientists, doctors, firefighters, clerks, cooks, soldiers, congressmen, architects, tailors, electricians, dentists, bus drivers, salesmen, actuaries, journalists, brokers …,” said Conway.
Conway emphasized that Furries aren’t only people who dress up in costumes. In fact, costumers are only a small portion of Anthrocon attendees.
“The biggest misconception is that a Furry is ‘someone who dresses as an animal.’ We have people who like costuming, but they make up (by our best estimates) only about 20% of our fandom.
So how do you spot a furry if they’re not wearing one of the telltale Fursuits? You probably don’t.
Most Furries are “a plainly-dressed army of writers, artists, animators, cartoonists, puppeteers and just plain fans,” according to Conway.
However, those who do dress up make a hefty financial and physical commitment.
“A costume — or “Fursuit” as we like to call them — can cost several thousand dollars. Each one is hand-made and each is a unique work of art. They are also bulky, uncomfortable and dangerously hot – one person described wearing a Fursuit as ‘wearing your sofa.’ At my age, I get overheated wearing my overcoat in the car, so even if I had the money for a basic Fursuit, I would probably have to invest in some technology like a cooling vest or strategically placed fans.”
So what distinguishes a fan of anthropomorphic animals from a fan of any other fantastic story? Conway said it’s the originality of the Furries that makes them stand out.
“Our members are creators, not consumers. Consider any other fandom out there from ‘My Little Pony’ to ‘Star Trek’ to ‘I Love Lucy’: they all focus on properties that are put out by studios and publishing houses, properties that someone else created for others to adore. Furries create their own fandom. The characters that float around in our heads (and in some cases, cavort down the street ahead of you) come from our own imaginations.”
Want to join in the action? Conway says it’s a three-step process: “Go into the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, purchase a membership to the convention and have fun. It’s really as simple as that.”
Anthrocon 2014 will be held from July 3 to July 6 in Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center.