My Anthrocon 2019 Experience

by Aeveirra Nova

While some of the Furry Raiders went west to the Las Vegas trip, others headed to the east coast, to Anthrocon in Pittsburgh!

What a blast! This was my third consecutive Anthrocon, and it gets better every year. Making new friends, catching up with old ones, and enjoying the atmosphere. So here’s my breakdown of my 2019 Anthrocon Experience!

🐾 INTRO

I left Long Island at about 5:30 am, then arrived in Pittsburgh around 12pm, on Thursday July 4th. I was rooming 3 others, and they were awesome roommates!

We stayed at the Courtyard (Marriott), just down the road from the convention center. It wasn’t very far, however just a quick walk in the pouring rain (especially in fursuit) is just inconvenient. I’ll get to the rain in a little bit.

Upon arrival, I went to get my badge. Thankfully I preregistered, but even still I waited online for about an hour. I had the basic Reg, but my other roommates were super-sponsors, so their line was super quick.

About the badges.... um.. OOF. I am not a fan of the cringe-worthy artwork featured on the badges and con-book. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Everyone I spoke to, said the same exact thing. It basically falls under that “uncanny valley territory”. Haha! Most people thought it was very strange. Im not trying to be mean here, just critical. Eh, see it for yourself and be the judge.

Our charity this year was “PEARL”, a rescue for Tropical Birds (Parrots). I really liked this one, especially because Macaws are my favorite animal!

Considering the cons theme was “Surf Pacific”, I thought it would have been better if they used a parrot on the badge art instead of some creepy ukulele pig creature. Haha.

The weather was pretty crazy. Reports said it was supposed to rain all weekend, and for the most part -it did. Temperature wise, It was in the high 80s, low 90s the entire con. OOF. The 95% humidity didn’t help much either!

However, the sky-gods were merciful, and it didn’t “rain our parade” - (literally)!

The Fursuit Parade was scheduled Saturday from 2-4pm, and it went very well. It was nice sunny, and the Pittsburgh locals came to see us! Despite it being extremely hot and humid, I had a great time being an orange doggo and making people smile.

After the parade, I got back to my hotel room, and not long after that a thunderstorm rolled in. The heavens opened up, and Lighting was flashing all over. The amount of flood-warning texts we received was numerous.

🐾 PANELS!

I’m not sure why, but not too many people like attending panels. Whatever, I do and here’s the ones I went to!

 0. Absent Friends (no host)

This was on Thursday night, which was technically not an official panel because AC opening ceremonies were the next day. This was supposed to be a gathering of individuals to remember friends we’ve lost. I went last year, and what we did was take turns sharing to the group experiences and memories of those no longer with us. I went last year, which was just a few months after I lost a friend in this fandom to suicide.

This time, it was different. There was no host, and no organization. I stuck around to talk to some people, which was alright. Eventually some people came in with a large cardboard poster, for DogBomb (who recently passed). It had information about his health condition, and his life in general. They gave out Hawaiian leis in his honor, and I along with others there signed the poster.

1. Non-fictional writing (hosted by Tantroo)

Tantroo is a YouTuber and writes for Flayrah, he does furry related news articles and reviews. This panel wasn’t just about writing news articles however, it was also about how to present facts, history and information.

For instance, how to write a step-by-step guide on fursuit making techniques.

Or, the book “Furry fandom Conventions 1989-2015” by Fred Patten.

It describes the history of furry conventions over the many years. Very interesting stuff!

2. Gender Expression

Out of sheer curiosity I HAD to go to this one! Haha. It’s troubling to me how this whole fandom is turning into a gay pride circus, so I decided to see what they had to say. The girl who ran it called herself “non binary” and used “they” pronouns. Yeah, um, OK then. Sitting across from me was an individual I realized had blocked me on twitter. So, yeah I had a feeling it was going to be good.

Unfortunately this panel was pretty tame, and discussed how to experiment with gender and different characters. There was a few funny moments, when “their” friend came up to speak, and accidentally reffed to the speaker as “she”. This was when they explaining how pronouns can be “experimental”, and fluctuate.

So, Did I speak up? Of course I did! Without getting into too much detail, I described how I experimented with my original fursona. My first sona, was a female named Aeveirra. But now, my fursona is male. Even tho I use the same name - which is still confusing to people who know me today. I said I think I messed up with that, cus I kept the name. But they were all way too nice to me about it and didn’t give me any productive feedback. They had this “anything goes” sort of mindset. All in all, it was interesting nonetheless.

3. Motivation Hour (Hosted by Con Dad)

This was basically one of those “motivational speaker” type of things about staying positive and getting motivated. You might think it sounds kind of lame and generic. (Granted, some parts were a little clichè). However, it was interesting and got pretty deep. The speaker opened the floor to personal stories and asked about things we want to accomplish/ need motivation for.

What did I do? Well obviously I shared a story! XD

I said I feel stuck in life, and I want to find the motivation to get a job, buy a house and start a family. Basic life-goals, ect. WELLL... after I said that, the speaker invited me to the front of the room, and gave me some pep-talk and life-advice. Wasn’t really expecting that, but it made me feel special. 😊

4. Cats!

This was a small one, I was only there briefly towards the end. It was basically about furries who have cats as pets, and we shared stories. As for me, I have two cats, a black cat named Lucky, and a multi-colors tabby named Riley.

As soon as I got there, I didn’t know what to expect but the speaker instantly asked me to share / ask something for the group. Ok! I’m not shy, so I came up with something right there - I had a question about why diabetes is common in cats, and how to prevent it. (My grandmothers cat, Buddy had diabetes despite not being overweight and eating normally). Anyways, we discussed diet, and basic cat health for a bit. I wasn’t planning on going to this panel, but I saw it as I was walking by. Glad I stopped in!

There were a few other panels I was thinking of going to, which were the MLP (my little pony), And a Pagan panel about magic.

I’m neither a Brony, or a Pagan - but I do like to learn and get different perspectives. In this case, when it comes to “magic”, one is friendship-based, the other is witchcraft-based. Scheduling however didn’t allow for me to attend those ones.

🐾 RAIDERS!

Yeah, I got to hang out with a few members of the group at AC. We didn’t have an “official meet up”, unfortunately. One of the main reasons for that was, we were all in different hotels. I was in the courtyard, Astral was in the Double Tree, Liru was at the Westin....ect. We all sorta did our own things, but I did get to see everyone at one point or another!

While not an “official” rule, I highly doubt wearing the signature armband would have resulted in positive attention. It’s a bummer, but Id rather not deal with complaints from the triggered outrage-mob.

Anyways, we all had fun. I got some pics with Astral and Norby after the fursuit parade.

I met up with Liru for a bit, and we wandered the vastness of dealers den!

I am not 100% sure what Kages’ stance is on our group.

-Just my opinion here-; I have a hunch he sees us as “problematic”.

🐾 MY ROOM

This was Cross Hyparu’s room, it was Him, myself, Ammy Star, and Hip-Hop the Husky. It was really chill, and we all got along great. I’ve known Ammy and Cross for a while, as they are local to me, but I never met HipHop before. He’s a pretty awesome guy.

On Saturday we hosted a room party. It was “supposed to be a wine party”, but people ended up bringing harder booze. There was a bunch of wine as well, however we were all just drinking whatever we had. Haha. Hiphop brought a bunch of lights, a laser display, and speakers; really made it a great party atmosphere. About halfway in, we played jackbox. Quiplash, Tee-K.O, and Faking it. Quiplash was my favorite :)

After a few drinks, and a few games I was way too hammered to even attempt drawing for Tee-K.O. Hahah.

After the room party, I went suiting down at the Westin, ran into a bunch of people and wound up at the nightly rave. By that time however (like midnight), I was verryyy tired. The rave was awesome, and I wish I had stayed longer than I did. I danced with some of my roommates, and other friends I met up with there. I got some really great shots of my Neon-orange fursuit glowing under the lights!

🐾 OFFICIAL EVENTS

1. Opening Ceremonies- I attend opening ceremonies every year :) it’s always nice to be introduced to the guests of honor, the charity, and get some basic information about what to expect. Opening ceremonies always gets my hyped!

2. Fursuit games - unfortunately I was not in the games this year. It was hard to get in! Plus, they’re very big and well organized, u have to either know people or get there super early.

3. Group Photo And Fursuit Parade- I met up with local Long Island furs, during the line-up and group photo. It was VERYY hot, just inside. Thankfully weather held up, despite it being very humid and about 92 degrees! In the photo, in in the middle-back, all the way to the right. The parade went very well, but I didn’t do the “meet the public” thing afterwards, I was so hot I just wanted to take a cold shower afterwards!

4. Fox and Peppers show- I caught a bit of the concert live at the beginning, but had to head back to my hotel room. While there, I saw the ending on the Anthrocon Live-Stream

5. Nightly Dances- yeah that was fun. The DJs were awesome!!! I spent some time there on Saturday night. Partied pretty hard, got really hot. Totally worth it!

6. Closing ceremonies. I was about to go to closing ceremonies..... but then I saw the line (the massive crowd of people outside the ballroom a half hour beforehand). I didn’t physically go, cus it wouldn’t have been worth it, but I did watch them on the Anthrocon livestream. (Much better audio and visual quality).

7. Dead Dog- on Sunday night, I suited up to go to the dead dog dance in the Westin. BUT I couldn’t stay in suit long. The air conditioning wasn’t high enough, and the impromptu headless lounge only had warm water. Haha, but I got out of suit, and went back with my roommate (Hip Hop). We stayed until the end.

🐾 PROS / MY FAVOURITE PARTS

  • I loved fursuiting ❤️ it’s so fun to become an orange doggo and freely wander around!
  • The dealers den was HUGE. I spent so much time there, just looking around, appreciating the arts. I didn’t spend that much money, jus got a couple little badge-things to clip on my lanyard. I also bought one for a friend of mine 😊
  • The Room Party, of course was great. A bunch of local furs I’m friends with came to our room for drinks and games. It got a little crowded at some points, haha but it was super fun
  • The Waterfront was the best place to chill on Sunday night after the dead dog dance ended. Unfortunately they closed the light-up walkway that leads down to it, due to building renovations. But that’s fine.
  • I wound up meeting some new people when I went there, had some good times, great conversations, ect.
  • MUCH LESS virtue signaling! I did not see a single person with the “Nazi Furs F*ck Off” ribbon! I’m sure it was probably around, but not like last year. They did however give out “pronoun” ribbons. Eh. That’s whatever, I guess.

🐾 NEGATIVES

  • For starters, the entire roof was closed off (as I said earlier, they’re doing renovations on the concenter). So, that was a bummer.
  • The weather really could have been better. It was raining a lot, and every couple hours attendees would get a flood-warning text. (I came prepared though, and put my suit in a plastic bag while walking to and from the Westin).
  • I really wish the other Raiders who went were at least staying at the same hotel. It would have been much easier to get together.
  • The “Absent Friends” pannel was poorly structured, and unorganized. Kinda disrespectful in my opinion.

🐾 NETWORKING

   Which notorious furries did I meet/ get pictures with at the con?!

  • HipHop the Husky (duh, he was my roommate)
  • Fender (aka Cooper Tom)
  • Majira Strawberry
  • Odin Wolf
  • Pineapple (no picture, just chatted)
  • Tantroo (no picture, but I went to his panel 😊)

*** I saw that post on twitter about the person who bought Kero’s old suit. It seemed fake to bunch of people, including myself. But NOPE! He was there! (The suit, at least). I only saw him at a distance. Too bad... I would have taken a picture with him too - just because!

🐾GETTING HOME

Oh boy... we left the hotel and were on the road at about 9am. Cross was driving Ammy and myself. We were making good time, and everything was going smoothly. It was supposed to be about 6 1/2, to 7 hour drive back to Long Island. JUST before we got on the bridge to arrive at Queens, the cars in front of us hit the breaks, as did we... then .... BOOM! We got rear-ended!

It was a pretty solid hit. We were all fine, thank goodness. There’s damage, but our car was still drivable. (I can’t say the same for the person who hit us though!) the other person is fine too, but her car was towed off the highway. After police came and went, we were able to make it home safely. I got home at around 5:30pm, EST.

🐾STATS AND INFORMATION

Theme: Surf Pacific

Guests of Honor:

  1. Sonic Fox (Gaming Champion)
  2. Steve Gallacci (Illustrator)
  3. Ben Diskin (Voice actor)

* Total Attendance = 9,358

* Increase from Last Year (8,406) = 11.31%

* International = Attendees were from 6 continents

* Charity Name = PEARL Parrot Rescue (https://www.pearlparrots.com)

* Total Money Raised for Charity = $46,440

* Number of Events = 290

* Number of DJs = 16 (over 3 days)

* Fursuit Badges = ~2,400

🐾FINAL THOUGHTS

WOW. What a trip! Anthrocon, like many furry conventions is a great way to escape the world for a little, and go wild! I made some new friends, got their telegram and stuff, hopefully we can keep in contact.

I definitely recommend going, but not as ones’ first con. It might not be the largest in the world anymore (2nd largest), but it is pretty big. I know a lot of furries can have social anxiety and stuff, and a very large convention can be a bit overwhelming. For some reason. I worked my way up to AC after going to a bunch of others before hand, but now I go every year. I’m always surprised when people say AC was their first con, but hey that’s awesome.

The only (overall) “bad thing” I can say about Anthrocon, is.... the space seems too big for us. Yes, I did just say this is a “large Furry convention”, but when it comes to things like Anime or ComicCons (upwards of 50,000 attendees) -AC is comparatively small. The DLCC is built to contain many tens of thousands of people for much larger events. For us (furries) drawing in less than 10,000 people, things seem too spread-out. For instance, It takes a very long time to get from one place to another, especially if you are not staying at the main hotel.

Aside from having to do a lot of walking though, I don’t really have any other complaints. It’s mostly well organized, and Pittsburgh offers a fun and welcoming atmosphere.

I’m going again next year - and when I do, I hope to see more Raiders there!

- Aeveirra Nova

Feel free to listen to Episode 60 of the Raiders Rambles, titled "Adventures of a Lifetime" to get a taste of the Anthrocon story and for some unmentioned gems that happened before, during and after the expedition.