Anthrocon 2019 in Pittsburgh: Etiquette, parade details, and all your other furry questions

Thousands of wolves, bears, foxes, tigers, and even unicorns (well, people dressed like them, at least) will take over Pittsburgh’s streets this week.

As part of the annual Anthrocon, furries and fursuiters will converge at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center July 4-7. It’s the world’s largest convention dedicated to anthropomorphics.

You might want to take a picture with these folks. Or you might want to join in the fun. Or you might just have questions about the whole thing.

So we’ve got a guide to all things Anthrocon whether or not you wear fur.


Uh, what’s the deal with Anthrocon?

 

For fans of anthropomorphics (human-like animal characters), Anthrocon is a big deal. Thousands of artists, animators, writers, costumers, puppeteers, and more travel to Pittsburgh from across the nation and the globe to attend the annual convention to show off their fursona (a character or avatar).

Pittsburghers welcome them with open arms because that’s what we do here (ahem).

Still don’t get it? Anthrocon, on its website, explains it like this: “If you as an adult still occasionally like to flip to the old cartoons, or have a stuffed animal sitting on the dashboard of your car, or buy cereal because it has a cool tiger on the box, you may well enjoy what our fandom has to offer.”

Each year’s convention has a different theme, and this year it’s Surf Pacific, so look for extra island flair on the costumes, many of which are intricate, handmade, and very valuable.

Anthrocon is also a big deal for Pittsburgh. The economic impact is massive, bringing in millions in tourism dollars. Between 2006 and 2018, Anthrocon brought to Pittsburgh $61.8 million in direct business sales, per Visit Pittsburgh.

Local businesses often draw paw prints on their sidewalks or offer themed specials to attract furries.


When can I see furries?

If you’re Downtown during the convention, chances are you’ll spot fursuiters.

The best opportunity to see fursuiters is during the Fursuit Parade at 2 p.m. Saturday out front of the Convention Center. Thousands of furries will march in what’s been described as “a walking art show.”

If you’ve never seen it, here’s what the parade looks like in 30 photos.


How do I interact with furries?

Here are a few tips Anthrocon officials have shared with The Incline over the years:

  • If you want to take a photo, ask first — just as you would for anybody else.
  • Keep in mind that some fursuiters won’t speak while in their suits, so they may mime a response. Simply ask, “Can you talk?”
  • Don’t touch the costumes or pull their tails.
  • If you see a fursuiter who appears to be on a mission, don’t stop them. It may be for health reasons. Keep in mind fursuits get very hot.

What happens at Anthrocon?

Like any other convention, Anthrocon includes workshops, meet-and-greets, and seminars. For example, there are workshops on writing, fursuit handling, art, sewing, and the history of anthropomorhic art. Check out the full schedule here.


How do furries eat and drink?

Most people don’t eat in costume because of the risk of spilling food on their suits. But drinking is another story, so fursuiters use long straws that will fit through their suit’s mouthpiece or drink from a bottle that fits inside their headpiece.


What’s the difference between a furry and a fursuiter?

Anybody involved in the fandom is a furry — even if they only wear ears and a tail or if they wear regular clothes.

A fursuiter is anybody who wears a fursuit or at least a headpiece, paws, and a tail.