Saturday, July 1 – I embarked on my trip early Saturday morning. It was a rainy 3 1/2 hour road trip, stopping only once to get underwhelming biscuits at a small roadside diner, but I didn’t care. Today was Anthrocon, and it was going to be incredible!
We arrived in Pittsburgh around 11:30 AM, the city was seemingly normal… at first. The closer we got the convention center, the more people began to appear on the streets. Small scattered crowds wearing ears and tails, and the occasional fursuit, what a sight that was!
We were very fortunate a parking lot had just opened in front of the convention center. I watched in astonishment as a deer exited the passenger side of a parked SUV and joined a pack of brightly colored canids walking down the sidewalk. We followed the small group, leading us into the East wing of the convention center to wait in line for our badges.
The lines were very long, surprising considering that the event was already three days in. If you were lucky enough to have a smart phone on you, you could skip the registration line by scanning a QR code and filling it out online. Otherwise, you still needed to wait to pay and get your stuff. The cash line moved very slowly, so I’m probably going to bring a card next year to speed up the process a little bit. Waiting was not bad however, since the various random fursuiters kept us entertained. A blue feline shown off her retractable wings. A coyote offered hugs. A wolf in a loincloth walked around with wooden stick.By the time we finally got our badges and goodie bags, people were already gathering together to watch the parade go by.
The parade was really neat, although the route was a tad confusing at first. The suiters went down the escalators to the outdoor portion, came back up and through the Dealers Den, then returned back to where they started. I was in an interesting position that can see the parade as it began, as the fursuiters came back up the escalators and entered the den, and as they walked by us towards the end. It all began with a bright red fox smashing together a pair of cymbals and ended with a group of volunteers in red vests. Meanwhile someone in the audience played the accordion the entire time (you can’t make this stuff up!)
I did recognize a few of the suiters, but most were new to me. A lot of very interesting costumes, and some stuck out to me – a suiter wearing space armor, a couple of minecraft-inspired fursuiters, a twinning set of red and white canines with gigantic tails, a couple cosplayers with old computer monitors for heads, etc. All in all, it was a pretty neat experience that lasted roughly an hour and was tons of fun. Some 2,000 suiters walked past, I believe.
After that, I headed back to the hotel for a little while to check in, refresh, and grab a bite to eat. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza. It wasn’t bad at all, very close to the David Lawrence Convention Center and cheaper than most of the remaining hotels (I do regret waiting until literally two days before Anthrocon started to book a room). Taking an Uber back was only $10, and returning back at midnight was $4 more. A couple hotel guests made comments about the “people with the tails” and I couldn’t help but giggle a little bit. My Uber driver later on was also curious about the convention, and I certainly didn’t mind answering a few questions she had.
That night I also got to check out the comedy show with Alkali and Uncle Kage’s story hour. It was pretty funny, I laughed a lot more than I expected I would. Alkali’s pot brownie experience was relatable and had me rolling. I lost it at hearing his friends experience climbing a mountain on acid. Uncle Kage’s story with “Doug O” the POS (Point of Sale 😉 ) scammer was epic. Afterwards I stayed for Anthrocon Tonight, which was a neat little experience with Charlie Adler doing voice impressions of fursuiters, live music, and a magic show. I seen Fender in between the two events, and I kinda regret not stopping by to say hey. He seemed like a pretty cool dude.
The next day I didn’t get to stay for too long as I needed to return home before it got late. I had just enough time to browse the Dealers Den for a little bit and catch the dance competition finals. The competition was really cool, probably the highlight of my experience. I really loved watching all the performances, and the talent of the dancers was really impressive! Hard to say which I act I enjoyed the most.
Overall, Anthrocon was a blast and I would love to return again next year, hopefully for much longer. I would like to stop by the fursuit photo shoot and maybe catch one of the late night dances next time. Seeing all the fursuiters walking around was an interesting experience that felt like it was straight out of a dream. It’s a weird feeling (in a good way) being surrounded by all the costumers, taking the elevator with a red fox, looking around and seeing these fuzzy characters everywhere you look. Honestly felt like stepping into Animal Crossing for a moment. And that’s not a bad thing.