The world’s largest furry convention is under way in downtown Pittsburgh. The convention for artists, animators, costumers, puppeteers and fans has called the Steel City home since 2006.
“By the time we’re finished with this particular convention, Anthrocon will have left $41 million of economic activity in the Pittsburgh region over the last nine years,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Pittsburgh, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau.
The gathering has grown each year. This year some 5,600 attendees are expected. Anthrocon Chairman and CEO Samuel Conway said all that’s needed to attend is a passion for animals.
“There’s no requirement to be a furry,” he said. “There’s not set type of person out there who thinks animals are cool – that’s a very universal thing. And you can see that in the faces at Anthrocon. You will see people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds. Last time I counted we have 25 countries represented here internationally.”
Conway said there is someone from every state but North Dakota in attendance. Some dress in full fur suits, some wear ears and/or a tail, others wear street clothes. Conway said furries cover all professions, including police officers, teachers and engineers.
Kazee, a wolf from New Hampshire, said when he’s not at Anthrocon, he works for a weapons manufacturing company.
“I have a lot of friends that come down here and visit this place, and I also get the opportunity to meet a lot of new people I don’t know, which in itself is rewarding,” Kazee said. “There are some people who find this uncomfortable, and that’s unfortunate because this is all about having fun. This is all about showing your colors.”
Anthrocon has raised more than $170,000 for charities since 1997. This year it is raising money for the National Aviary.
Anthrocon will go on through the weekend, with an indoor furry parade at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Saturday.