My Furpocalypse 2019 Experience
Written by Aeveirra Nova
The theme of this year’s Furpocalypse (2019) was “Retro-Wasteland”, based on the post-apocalyptic environment of something from, say, Fallout. WELL. that’s exactly what we got! My goodness what an experience...
The con officially ran from October 25th to the 27th, but of course I got there a day early, and stayed until the day after, lol. (24th-28th), or Thursday to Monday. It was a nice 5-day getaway from the mundane reality of adulthood.
Some key details:
- Location: Cromwell Connecticut
- Main Hotel: Red Lion
- Con theme: Retro Wasteland
- Charity: United States War Dogs Association
- Money raised for Charity: $7,169 USD
- Guests of Honor: Kenket and Robo-Shark
- Attendance: Figures for 2019 unlisted. 2018 attendance at 1,391
- Fursuiters: Approximately 400-500
Lookit my new badge, I've got candy corn.
🐾 MY ROOM
Me and my boy Crusader Cat
Our hotel room was shared between the four of us - Astral, Norby, Pawden (AKA Crusader Cat) and myself. It cost $155 a night, for four nights, and split between the four of us amounted to... you guessed it, $155 per person.
Our room was SUPPOSED TO BE a double, meaning two beds. But... we entered the room to find it was only a king, with one bed. Mind you, there’s 4 of us, and we’re all fursuiters. One bed isn’t going to cut it. Despite efforts to remedy our dilemma, our endeavors were futile - as the entire hotel was fully booked, leaving us with no chance to change accommodations. Sooo... we made due. We requested a fold up bed to be rolled in to the room; and after playing Tetris with our furniture we just barely got things together.
Turned out, we weren’t the only ones this had happened to. MANY people I spoke to at this con were also forced to stay in rooms they didn’t reserve, simply due to a combination of over-booking and poor management. Just some context here, on the first night registration opened at the Red Lion (back on May) - all rooms were sold out in less than 45 minutes. It’s a miracle Astral was able to get one at the main hotel.
As if that nonsense wasn’t bonkers enough, our bathroom was an absolute joke. You know that porcelain lid that’s supposed to be on the tank of the toilet? Yeah, we didn’t have one. Instead, it was a cardboard cut-out of a lid painted white...
A cardboard lid. They're never gonna notice the difference.
That was just the start... but I’ll delve into related issues later. Haha. Anyways, we somehow made it work despite the limited space and “questionable repairs”. We all got along super well, no issues, no room drama, etc.
ANYWAYS. Despite all that nonsense and calling hotel staff on that issue, we moved. To be fair - our room wasn’t actually “that bad”(aside from a pipe breaking and eating a puddle on our floor). OK, it was that bad. But it could have been worse, considering the state of the entire hotel.
🐾 APOCALYPSE HOTEL
How cursed is this room? It's straight out of an abandoned property
Well, if there ever was a fitting name for the Furpocalypse hotel... this is it. On Saturday night we had a rainstorm, and it rained just as much inside as it did outside. The central pool area was pouring down water from the heavens upon the hotel space. Rained inside, how does that work? Oh wait...
Don't jump in the pool, just don't. There's no treasure to be found.
Now... if I were you, I wouldn’t go in the pool. Because it was stained black and green with mold and algae. It was still technically open, but only a few brave souls went in. It was nothing like last year. Here’s where it went crazy... the state of the water was so bad, we couldn’t even use the poolside for annual CEO dunking. What a missed opportunity.
Million dollar question of the con
There were viral posts about flooding in the basement, and abandoned rooms bearing creepy cribs at the hotel. It almost felt like it added to the atmosphere of Furpocalypse's theme.
But... I have to say, the best was the discovery of an entire second floor.
This hotel was apparently not built to code, so instead of renovating the problem, they slapped a ceiling up there, and thought no one would notice.
As happened during the con: discovery of a secret passage
WELL. we didn’t notice for quite sometime, until a panel was lifted and people discovered a hidden second floor balcony. This second floor spans every single room in the certain hall of the hotel. Meaning, anyone on that hall can pop up their ceiling tile, go up on the closed-second floor, and walk along into other peoples rooms. Such a thing is obviously a serious problem....
The hotel was promptly closed after the convention for serious health and safety violations, including, but not limited to;
- Extreme amount of Mold
- Unsafe electrical infrastructure
- Lack of CCTV security
- Negligent management of water damage.
Also, several dozen furs, (including a few of my friends) got sick from mold poisoning. It was everywhere, in every room. Absolutely crazy.
As I said, the hotel was always pretty bad, but this year took it to 11. Unfortunately the reason for this was a lack of funding on the hotel's part to keep up with management of safety regulations.
It’s mind blowing this hotel was still operating, but I guess they still had a contract with the con. Before the con, the hotel was empty for months because they lost their license.
Because we were the only people allowed in the hotel, no other (normie) guests were there. It’s a weird situation- but honestly it made an amazing and unique experience. We had the hotel entirely to ourselves😎. It may have been a mold-ridden, leaking, unsafe dilapidated hell-hole. But hey, it worked out!
The events went very well, as per usual. We had the fursuit parade, car show, night dances, ect. All went off in good fun despite the condition of the hotel.
The Fursuit Parade began Saturday morning at the Zoo. The zoo was an elevated area on the far end of the hotel. We all gathered, (at least several hundred of us) there were some group photos taken from the balcony as we gathered, but that wasn’t the main shoot. When it started, we all funneled out down the ramp. Past the pool, and down to the lobby. We had many people taking pictures and videos. Of course, it was ONLY Furries in this hotel, so we didn’t have normie spectators.
Past con-ops, into the lobby and out the door. It was warm out for October, but the cool breeze was a blessing! We walked around the side of the hotel and gathered in the parking lot being the garage (where the car show took place), for a proper photo. They used drones with a panoramic lens to get everyone the best they could. After that, we all dispersed back to the hotel, or up to the parking garage.
This parade was linear, I:E; it didn’t loop back around back to the hotel. It lead us to the group photo outside, and from there we did our own thing. Many people hung out just outside the hotel to catch up with friends and take personal photos. It’s not the most extravagant con parade, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Cars, bikes and suits all on show
The car show is something unique to this convention. As far as I know, no other convention does this; (at least, none that I’ve been too.) The reason for this is the parking garage next to the hotel. And let’s be real - sometimes parking at cons can be a total nightmare and we don’t have things like that at most cons. The car show took place on top of the 3 story parking garage, and hosted both regular parking for congoers and hotel staff, with an area dedicated for our event.
I arrived out of suit to walk around and meet up with some friends. I’d estimate about 40-50 cars were featured in the show. Including my friend Bryce, and Norby's cars!
There were recurring favorites like the truck from Jurassic Park, and several Ghostbusters-themed cars. Yes. There were at least cars decked out like Ghostbusters. In addition, there were both old and new models of every type. People were showing off their engines, paint jobs, rims, and props. Later on, it was time to vote for the winner. Cars were ranked by several categories :
- Best domestic car
- Best Asian car
- Best European car
- Best “Other” (unique)
Sadly, none of my friends’ cars won but I voted for them. I also voted for the Jurassic Park truck, which I believe won overall. Or maybe it was the ghostbusters. Haha, it was a hard choice.
Across from the car show we had the “cool bus”. This is a custom decked out school bus parked on the far end of the car show. During the day, they had a BBQ in front the bus, and offered free burgers and hotdogs to all attendees - (of course, it’s rude not to tip them). At night, the cool bus was lit up, and housed a massive party. This year, sadly I didn’t go because it was raining, and I would have had to walk a fair distance from the hotel, up to the parking garage roof. From what I’ve been told, it was pretty fun. I was too busy with my own room parties in the hotel anyway.
As we always do at Furpocalypse, we ordered a ton of pizza! In this case, we ordered like 30 pizzas, and chilled on the second floor, watching Mad Max. Not too many showed up for that this year, and I think it was because we typically host it in the large “Zoo” area. this year, it was hosted in two panel rooms upstairs.
All in all, Furpoc is my favorite convention ever. We are moving hotels next year to better accommodate increasing membership (and avoid the catastrophic stuff that was 2019).
🐾 CLOSING THOUGHTS
We partying hard up here!
The closing ceremonies are always bittersweet to watch. Sad to see the con over, but I was glad we raised money for charity.
After the closing ceremonies, the con was technically over. Sort of a bummer, but even after the official closing, convention custom dictated that Furpocalypse had a Dead Dog Dance for the last night!
Furpocalypse booked a new hotel for the years ahead, which I’m very much looking forward to. After so many years at the Red Lion, formerly known as Crowne Plaze and Radisson Cromwell due to ownership changes over the years, as bad as the hotel was, I’m going to miss it. Had a lot of good memories there. Hopefully the new hotel in the future will provide a much better experience.
Despite the complete and utter dilapidated state of the Red Lion... I had an absolute blast at Furpocalypse! 2019 marks the fourth consecutive year I've attended Furpocalypse, and this con holds a special place in my heart.
It’s where I got my fursuit. Furpocalypse 2019 was absolutely bonkers. I totally recommend going!
- Aeveirra Nova
Feel free to listen to Episode 74 of the Raiders Rambles, titled "Post-Apocalyptic Nostalgia" to get a taste of the Furpocalypse story and just how much the state of the Red Lion hotel added to the atmosphere over the course of the event.