1,460 animals on parade
July 17, 2015 1:16 AM   Subscribe

July 11, 2015: Anthrocon Fursuit Parade [~24m] 1460 animals of various species and styles pass before your eyes.

Or watch them glide down escalators as they exit the hotel for the first time in Anthrocon history to share the parade with the Pittsburgh public. [~31m]

The Fursuit Parade Group Photo: 3000px wide, 10000px wide, 26000px wide (might break your browser)

NPR covers Anthrocon 2015 Fursuit Parade

Anthrocon summarizes its largest year ever (highlights -- registered attendees: 6348, estimated number of spectators outside the hotel: 5000, estimated amount raised for event charity: $35.5K)
posted by hippybear (55 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Can someone explain the waffle in the front row?
posted by Mizu at 1:51 AM on July 17, 2015

Life, Liberty and the Fursuit of Happiness.

This would explain a reported shortage of some varieties of cosplay at ComicCon the same weekend (doublechecks calendar, yep, the same weekend). But it does not explain the presence of the very recognizable San Diego Chicken in the front row of the group photo. The San Diego icon who was bigger than the pro sport team he started out as mascot for and he's 3000 miles away during ComicCon?

btw, TOTALLY eponysterical, hippybear
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:54 AM on July 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

btw, TOTALLY eponisterical, hippybear

so, the hippy comes from hippie, which I was born too late to be but which I am in my soul, and the bear comes from gay bear (which I'm not physically, but I am inside plus love the hairy dad-bod types), and hippybear comes from IRC in 1991 where character names were limited to 9 characters.

My furry self is a large green wolf, but he's also sort of me, if I work at it a tiny bit. :3

As for the waffle -- it's a prop. A lot of furries give their characters props for various reasons. If you watch the main parade video, you will see a lot of furries with props and interacting with them as they walk past.
posted by hippybear at 2:02 AM on July 17, 2015 [8 favorites]

I love the shark from about 0:42 (from first linked video).

posted by Halo in reverse at 2:08 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, it was a wolf carrying the waffle, which I guess makes it a wolfle.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:16 AM on July 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

I really meant to get over to the convention center to watch this last weekend and totally forgot. Thanks for posting.
posted by octothorpe at 3:16 AM on July 17, 2015

Man, it is impossible for me to look at that parade and not smile. So many happy people being adorable critters. There's a lot of artistry on display, and even the less sophisticated ones more than make up for it in enthusiasm.

(Bonus recursion points for Dino Gnar, i.e., a person in a costume of a costume for a character that puts that character in a costume.)
posted by NMcCoy at 3:21 AM on July 17, 2015

I don't know much about furries, but I have gathered that they make up original characters for their hobby, in contrast to many other types of fandom. That's pretty cool.
posted by Harald74 at 3:50 AM on July 17, 2015

Holy crap. If you start watching that first video be sure you've got the time to spare because it's damn hard to tear your eyes away until it's done. It's just this endless, endless parade of pink dog-ladies and skunks in wheelchairs and furries playing trumpets and...

It's like something you'd see during restless sleep, probably when you were sick with a fever. And then there's that group photo link! My god, it's like a city of animal people! So... many... furries.

Admittedly the thread is young, but so far I'm not seeing as much scorn and mockery as I would have expected. Have furries found a measure of acceptance in 2015? For a long time they were the kink that everybody, even the adult babies, loved to hate on. (And yes, I know that not all the furries are doing it for kink reasons. But they were generally seen as a kink group, and even within the wider kink community furries were pretty reviled.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:58 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ursula, if Pittsburgh can accept and embrace furries, then it would be sad if Metafilter couldn't.
posted by octothorpe at 4:17 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've gotten the impression that MeFi in particular is pretty cool with furries, perhaps just from familiarity; in addition to hippybear, we've got at least a couple other regulars I can think of. But yeah, I think the furry stigma is fading in a general sense as well.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:21 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not really active in the fandom any more, but I still love anthropomorphic stuff and the amazing work that comes out of the artists who are drawn to it. Fursuits were never my thing but there's no doubt the best ones take a hell of a lot of craft to make and the results can be stunning. Here's a few pics of my favourite one, 'Kreek':

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
posted by Drexen at 4:25 AM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Can someone explain the waffle in the front row?

Furries still have to eat.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:05 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not seeing as much scorn and mockery

I'm guessing you have to be pretty curmudgeonly not to enjoy a good parade.
posted by Segundus at 5:26 AM on July 17, 2015

I can't find an article for it now, but I remember that Anthrocon had some problems with other cities that were more put off by their non-mainstreamness than pleased by their money. I'd heard that Pittsburgh actually invited them after hearing about this, promising to be welcoming. It was win-win, as Pittsburgh needed the business and the convention needed a space that wanted them there.

Our own local anime convention, which generally runs in North/Central Jersey, is moving to Atlantic City next year. The city is basically subsidizing the move. I suspect they're looking for the same sort of thing. Hobby/genre conventions look weird, but attendees spend money, and in thin economic times, "weird" becomes less of a drawback. (I'm also hoping that Atlantic City absorbs the habit of anime/gaming/genre conventions of being more nocturnal than most, as casinos also skew towards evening activity.)

Indianapolis, which has hosted GenCon for the last several years, puts news stories on in advance warning residents of the wackiness coming, and making the point that the convention is in the top three revenue-generating events the city sees each year. (The Indy 500 beats it, of course, and I don't remember the other one). I asked one of the local businesses one year if they minded having to change their hours or the odd behavior, and they said that it was worth the hours for the extra business, and by-and-large the gaming convention attendees were much kinder and more patient than people in town for business conventions.

I wonder if increased media coverage of things like ComicCon is helping as well, giving random passers-by at least some context for what's going on.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:57 AM on July 17, 2015

I'd heard some rather chuffed tslk about the media coverage though; it seemed to be a genuine step forward in how welcoming it was.
posted by solarion at 6:16 AM on July 17, 2015

Watching the parade there's some dude a ways in carrying a confederate flag. Then there's a gap, because no one wants to be seen walking next to him.
posted by Windigo at 6:18 AM on July 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm going to admit something here. I could so very much wear a fursuit. I like the concept, the comradery, the allure of kinky sex. But I sweat so very much even wearing minimal clothing. And I'd need to be really stoned.

So it's still possible.
posted by Splunge at 6:32 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have furries found a measure of acceptance in 2015?

It is a very pleasant surprise how much Pittsburgh has embraced the furries. It's a little surreal to see furries walking past business-folk on their way to work and nobody is batting an eye in either direction.
posted by splen at 6:47 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Reminds me a LOT of that Google neural net thingy...
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:50 AM on July 17, 2015

So why does Crash Bandicoot get denied at the end?
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:54 AM on July 17, 2015


The nature of the beast; to fear that which is different. When mainstream exposure to furries was basically just a CSI episode -- DON'T LOOK ETHEL, THERE'S SOME CHUCK E CHEESE GUYS ON THE TEEVEE BEING PREVERTS -- they were a lot easier to stigmatize. Coupled with that was the perception that it was taking the concept of dressing up in an animal suit, something associated with fine All-American[tm] pastimes -- high school football games, restaurant mascots, kids' TV shows -- and using it as a medium for kinky sex.

Over time, the usual realizations set in:
* Lots of people are doing it for reasons that have nothing to do with kinky sex.
* Hey, I know people who do this. My nephew did it last year and isn't that Old Mr. Johnson from down the block in that squirrel suit? And they're not horrible sex perverts as far as I know. Old Mrs. Johnson would never stand for that sort of thing. [1]
* Even if there are still flapsuits out of sight, nobody's getting hurt here and besides, we watched 50 Shades last week so who are we to kinkshame?

[1] oh if they only knew what Old Mrs. Johnson gets up to in the dead of night.
posted by delfin at 7:04 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Pittsburgh, at least in my work and social circles which admittedly are screamingly liberal, loves our furry visitors and residents. I do feel like there's been a shift on that for the better over maybe the past 5 years
posted by Stacey at 7:25 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can't believe that it's been two years since I posted this, but this article kind of sums up the tipping point of Anthrocon and the broader Pittsburgh community.

I have to say this about the parade - there's something that brings me great joy as a citizen of this city, to see people out on the streets CHEERING for what a lot of people find to be weird. If you can bring your weird and have a city embrace it to the point of clogging the streets for a parade, then you GO ON - both the convention and the city. It makes me feel better as a weird in my own way citizen. I might not have a tail and ears, but if we can collectively look forward to this every summer, then maybe my weird isn't so weird at all.
posted by librarianamy at 7:45 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


If the last 15 minutes are any indication, I will never not smile and almost laugh reading this, which is honestly how I feel about the Fursuit Parade in general. It's just looks like so much joy.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:48 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like the overrepresentation of hockey fans because a hockey jersey is the one clothing item many people have that will fit over a giant fur suit.
posted by almostmanda at 7:50 AM on July 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

Also, this is a great quote from the NPR article:

"I love it more than anything in the freakin' world!" exults 10-year-old Mia. "There are unicorns and I'm about to be all, 'Oh, my God!' "
posted by librarianamy at 7:50 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think in general, some of the acceptance may also be due to social awareness of people dressing up for fun. With events like SDCC and DragonCon having huge numbers of cosplayers and media attention, people are reacting with less ICK WEIRDOS and more "Hey cool costume".

Just my personal theory, anyway. I have witnessed my own mundane family members getting more used to nerds being "out" with their nerdy activities.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:05 AM on July 17, 2015

There were a lot of these, uh, people? at Pride this year. Way, way more than any other time I've been there. I get that a lot of them identify as gay, queer, etc but I don't really understand if they're trying to shoehorn furry rights in there somewhere. Whatever floats your boat I guess.
posted by desjardins at 8:14 AM on July 17, 2015

Isn't Pride about all sorts of sexuality, not just gender-based sexuality/orientation? (Public-friendly) Kink has been a part of Pride for a long time, with gay culture practically stereotyped as leather. Why one kink and not another?
posted by explosion at 8:25 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not really, I was heavily involved in the mostly-hetero BDSM scene and they generally don't go to Pride. All of the kinksters I knew who went to Pride identified as queer, bi, pan, etc.
posted by desjardins at 8:30 AM on July 17, 2015

I think of the furry contingent at pride the same way I do the leather or kink: queer people representing themselves honestly. Straight leather or kink folk don't show up in the parade, but queer folk do and they do it in full regalia. It makes sense that furry folk would do the same thing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:36 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I just got a note from the pet shelter where I got my kittens, telling me Anthrocon raised $35,000 for them last weekend.

THANK YOU, anyone reading this who was part of that. They do good work, and your donations will do good work, and our city loved having you here. Come back soon.
posted by Stacey at 8:42 AM on July 17, 2015 [14 favorites]

> But I sweat so very much even wearing minimal clothing.

Google for "cooling vest". I have one of the phase-change ones from GlacierTek and it works like a champ. (Not a fursuiter, but a full-costume renfaire patron in Texas. Many of the same logistical problems...)

Memail me if you have questions. I'm kink- and furry-friendly.

> And I'd need to be really stoned.

Not a great solution to being overheated. Hydrate, limit exertion and sun exposure, take breaks in a cool space and have the sense to know when costume fun time is over.
posted by sourcequench at 9:24 AM on July 17, 2015

There are always people who are going to think that furries (or substitute any other subculture of your choice) are weird. That's fine. I do lots of things that other people would consider weird, so others are welcome to be weird too.

The sea change is when the general perception of the subculture changes from Harmful Weird to Harmless Weird. The trip from Harmless Weird to Just Another Thing That's Out There is a lot shorter and easier to navigate.
posted by delfin at 9:38 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am always taken by the level of care and detail put into those suits! The parade looks like so much fun!
posted by MissySedai at 10:12 AM on July 17, 2015

Splunge: It's pretty much your own personal sauna, but proper attire helps a lot. With a polypro undersuit and balaclava, phase-change cooling vest, sweatbands in all the right places, and occasionally a fan in the head, I can do about two hours of being relatively active in 80-85F temps before I have to de-suit and cool off. All that undergear keeps most of the sweat and skin oils out of the suit as well.

I never ever thought suiting would be something I'd be interested in trying until three or four years ago. On a whim, I asked to borrow a friend's 3/4 partial fursuit at a convention - everybody in suit looked like they were having so much fun, I wanted to see what it was like. It wasn't the most artful suit, so nobody was coming up and oohing and ahhing over the craftsmanship like they sometimes do, and I was pretty unsure of myself for a while - I'm the biggest, stiffest, dorkiest dude around, cannot act to save my life, and can barely speak in public, so doing any kind of public performing is parsecs away from my comfort zone. But then, my other friend's two-year-old son came up to me and started to play - tossing a ball, playing fetch, petting this outrageous-looking doglike thing that was me like it was...well, not quite a dog, but definitely not an adult.

In that moment, I was enlightened. I played with him for about twenty minutes of complete, blissful absence of adulthood, and then I went and danced my ass off half the night in costume, and that was it - I was a fursuiter.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and this is me at the Oregon Country Fair. Out amongst a crowd of thousands, broiling in a wearable wolf-shaped couch, dressed up like an astronaut underneath to keep from dying of the heat, and loving every single second I'm out there making people smile and laugh and occasionally gasp at "ohmygoditsasixfootfourtalkingwolf!".

If there's anybody out there in the Pacific Northwest who's interested in what suiting is all about and isn't sure where to start, MeMail me - I only discovered this through the generosity of a friend, and I'd like to pass that on if I can.
posted by hackwolf at 10:15 AM on July 17, 2015 [11 favorites]

Had to go to the post office on Monday and it was about that time that they began the slow, party's-over exodus back to the parking garage at the bus station, looking exactly like someone would look after a senior trip or a bachelor party, except with more heavy-duty plastic storage totes. Looks like fun.
posted by GrapeApiary at 10:18 AM on July 17, 2015

Even Pittsburgh Dad wandered in a couple years ago.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:28 AM on July 17, 2015

There is an in-progress dragon head on the coffee table next to me. When it is finished it will have pockets for putting cooling packs in to keep me from melting. Not that I'll be running around in a full-body carpet; the friend making it likes to make much more minimal things you can really move in. Which suits me just fine.

Forty years old, been in the furry fandom for about sixteen years, drifting towards the edges of the fandom, and I'm finally getting something made of my character.

Oh yeah, and I'm pretty sure that the furry contingent you see at Pride is largely queer furries. Of course furries are largely queer anyway - I don't have any numbers, but my general sense from being part of the fandom for years is that there are a lot of GLBT furries. Including myself!
posted by egypturnash at 10:47 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I just skimmed the videos and I'm struck by the immense difference of my reaction to some of the other comments here. This is normal to me. The fursuit parade is a fixture of every furry con, and it always snakes through the dealer's room at some point. Business stops, and everyone pauses to watch the suits, maybe hug a friend who's in the parade, then gets back to business.

"There's Yappy Fox and his damn cymbal", I thought as each video opened. Dude gets around to a lot of the cons, and is always near the front of the parade. With that cymbal.

A parade of almost 1500 people in animal suits is something I am completely blasé about. I have lived a pretty good life to be able to say that.
posted by egypturnash at 10:56 AM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Fascinating to watch all the way through. It was great to see the ones that stylistically stuck out amongst the sea of wolves/foxes-- different designs/animals/silhouettes. I'm always really curious how many of them are handmade vs. purchased since they often seem to adhere to a particular style/design.

In contrast to looking at Comic Con cosplay recently, I started wondering if there would be more furry pop culture mashups. I was really expecting a Furriosa...

(okay I'll show myself out)
posted by actionpact at 11:14 AM on July 17, 2015

Which suits me just fine.

I see what you did there.
posted by hippybear at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2015

Yeah, there was a furry contingent in Northampton Pride this year too.

Honestly, I ended up feeling like any parade without kids strutting around and waving in six-foot-tall magenta fox costumes is seriously lacking.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:29 AM on July 17, 2015

Like, for real, the sort of big whole-body physical acting that people do in fursuits is MADE FOR parades. I guess probably it just comes from the desire to broadcast some sort of personality when you can't use things like facial expression. But it's also such a good way of playing to a big crowd.

The furry contingent was by far the most engaging — more than the party floats, more than the hot dudes in body glitter, more than the nonprofiteers throwing candy to kids. They owned that crowd. It was totally delightful to watch.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

The furry fandom is tremendously queer, at least relative to a general population baseline.

The "meh" attitude from a lot of furry fans towards suiting at a con is why I most enjoy doing it away from cons. "Just another guy in a wolf suit" to jaded long-time fans becomes something special and amazing to a bunch of kids out at the fair or in a park or even for adults on Halloween or at Pride. I know I'm nothing special inside the fandom - not an artist, not a "popu-fur", not even an exceptional performer in-suit - but out in the world I can do something really amazing for that six-year-old who loves wolves.
posted by hackwolf at 11:32 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

actionpact: Don't worry, that's totally going to be a thing that happens.

Or really, go ahead and worry. Furries ruin everything, usually by way-too-thoroughly exploring the Rule 34 phase space of...well, anything.
posted by hackwolf at 11:39 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter: way-too-thoroughly exploring the Rule 34 phase space of...well, anything.
posted by hippybear at 11:41 AM on July 17, 2015

Hollywood take notice: it seems like this whole 'furry' thing would make a great comedy...a bunch of furries strike back at all of the teasing and social ridicule by pulling off some kind of redeeming act that puts the public on their side. Kind of like 'Revenge of the Nerds' in fursuits. I'd pay GOOD money to see that!
posted by Quasimike at 2:44 PM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

There would be fights to be working in the costuming department on that production, Quasimike.
posted by Harald74 at 11:47 PM on July 17, 2015

I love the group shot. Shiny happy people holding paws.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:50 AM on July 18, 2015

Can someone explain the waffle in the front row?

Furries still have to eat.

I think the technical term is 'Waffle Vore'.
posted by Theta States at 1:20 PM on July 20, 2015

Watching the parade there's some dude a ways in carrying a confederate flag. Then there's a gap, because no one wants to be seen walking next to him.

Oh god, I saw that photo floating around twitter. What the actual... ugggh.
posted by Theta States at 1:21 PM on July 20, 2015

As for the giant photos, we need a coordinates system implemented so we can talk about outfits! So many little things to spot.
posted by Theta States at 1:25 PM on July 20, 2015

Also: That photo should be turned in to one of those difficult Sprinbok puzzles.
posted by Theta States at 1:27 PM on July 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

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