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Introduction

Welcome, curious critters and seasoned furries alike! Have you ever wondered what happens behind the magical doors of a furry convention? Whether you’re a bright-eyed newbie or a convention veteran, this guide will whisk you through the fantastical world of furry conventions. So grab your tails and ears, and let’s dive into the fur-filled fun!

History and Background 

Furry conventions have a rich and fascinating history that mirrors the growth and evolution of the furry fandom itself. The origins of these conventions can be traced back to the late 1980s, a time when the internet was in its infancy and like-minded fans relied on fanzines and snail mail to communicate.

    The Early Days

    The concept of furry conventions began with informal gatherings of fans who shared a love for anthropomorphic animals—creatures with human characteristics. These early meetups were often part of larger science fiction and comic book conventions, where furry enthusiasts would carve out their own space to discuss their interests. The seeds of the furry fandom were sown in these humble beginnings, with small groups coming together to share artwork, stories, and costumes.

      Image of Pittsburgh Anthrocon 

      Image via Pittsburgh Union Progress

      The First Furry Convention

      The first official furry convention, ConFurence, was held in 1989 in Costa Mesa, California. Organized by Mark Merlino and Rod O’Riley, ConFurence I brought together about 65 attendees who were eager to celebrate their love for anthropomorphics. The convention featured panels, art shows, and social events, setting the blueprint for future furry conventions. ConFurence quickly became an annual event, growing in size and popularity each year.

        The 1990s and Growth

        The 1990s saw a significant expansion of the furry fandom and its conventions. As the internet became more accessible, it allowed fans from around the world to connect and organize more effectively. New conventions began to sprout up across the United States and eventually around the globe. Midwest FurFest, which started in 2000 in Chicago, and Anthrocon, which moved to Pittsburgh in 2006, are two of the largest and most well-known conventions that emerged during this period.

          Diversity and International Expansion

          Furry conventions began to diversify in terms of themes and activities, catering to various interests within the furry community. Conventions also started to appear internationally, with events like Eurofurence in Germany and FurFright in the UK gaining traction. This global expansion highlighted the universal appeal of the furry fandom, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries.

            Modern Day

            Today, furry conventions are major events that attract thousands of attendees. They feature a wide array of activities, including panels, workshops, fursuit parades, gaming rooms, and social events. Conventions have also become important venues for charity, with many raising significant amounts of money for various causes. For instance, Anthrocon regularly supports local Pittsburgh charities, demonstrating the community’s commitment to philanthropy.

              Image From A Boston Furry Convention

              Image via Boston Magazine

              Technological Influence

              The advent of social media and advanced technology has further revolutionized furry conventions. Virtual conventions have become a reality, especially in light of global events like the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing furries to connect and celebrate online. This blend of physical and virtual experiences ensures that the furry community remains vibrant and accessible to all its members.

              From its modest beginnings in the late 1980s to the sprawling, multi-faceted events of today, the history of furry conventions is a testament to the creativity, passion, and dedication of the furry fandom. These gatherings have become a cornerstone of the community, offering a unique space where fans can express themselves, connect with others, and celebrate their shared love for anthropomorphic animals.

                Registration and Preperation

                Ready to join the furry fun? First, you’ll need to register. Most conventions have online registration, making it as easy as a wag of a tail. Pro tip: Register early for the best rates and to snag a spot at popular events. As for packing, think comfort and creativity. Pack your fursuit (if you have one), comfy clothes, plenty of snacks, and don’t forget your chargers! It’s also handy to bring a small bag for all the fabulous merchandise you’ll collect.

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                  Common Activities and Events

                  What magical mischief awaits you at a furry convention? Let’s take a peek!

                  • Panels and Workshops: Dive into the nitty-gritty of furry culture with panels on everything from fursuit crafting to furry literature. These sessions are both educational and interactive, perfect for expanding your furry knowledge.
                  • Dealer’s Den: This bustling marketplace is a treasure trove of furry merchandise. From custom artwork to fursuit accessories, you’ll find everything your furry heart desires.
                  • Artist Alley: Watch creativity in action as artists showcase their skills and create art on the spot. It’s a great place to commission a piece of your very own!
                  • Fursuit Parades: One of the highlights of any convention! Fursuiters gather for a grand parade, showing off their fantastic creations. Whether you’re in a fursuit or cheering from the sidelines, it’s a sight to behold.
                  • Meet and Greets: Rub paws with popular furry artists, writers, and personalities. It’s a fantastic opportunity to make connections and get autographs.
                  • Gaming Rooms: Whether you’re into video games or tabletop adventures, there’s a spot for you. Challenge friends to a game or discover new ones!

                  Socializing and Community Building 

                  Furry conventions are all about community and camaraderie. It’s like a giant family reunion where everyone shares your passion for anthropomorphic animals. Attend meetups and gatherings for specific interests, like fursuit makers or furry writers, and make friends that last a lifetime. Networking is a breeze here – just strike up a conversation and you’re sure to find common ground.

                    Image Of Fursuiters At The Furry Migration Furry Convention 

                    Image via Flickr

                    Entertainment and Performances  

                    At furry conventions, the entertainment and performances are as diverse and vibrant as the community itself. These events provide a platform for attendees to showcase their talents, enjoy various art forms, and experience the creativity of the furry fandom. Here’s a closer look at some of the highlights:

                    Dance Competitions: One of the most exhilarating events at any furry convention is the dance competition. These high-energy contests see furries busting out their best moves in elaborate fursuits. Participants often spend months perfecting their routines, combining intricate choreography with the expressive art of fursuiting. The atmosphere is electric, with the crowd cheering on their favorite dancers. Whether you’re participating or just watching, the dance competitions are a must-see spectacle.

                    Live Performances: The furry fandom is brimming with talented performers, and conventions offer a stage for all kinds of live acts. You might find:

                    • Musical Performances: From solo singers and bands to instrumentalists, the variety of musical talent is astounding. Genres range from pop and rock to electronic and orchestral, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
                    • Comedy Shows: Laughter is a universal language, and furry conventions are no exception. Comedians, both amateur and professional, take the stage to deliver stand-up routines, improv shows, and sketch comedy that often includes furry-themed humor.

                    Theatrical Productions: Some conventions feature fully staged plays or skits, often written and performed by members of the furry community. These productions can be whimsical, dramatic, or anything in between, showcasing the diverse storytelling talents within the fandom.

                    Karaoke and Talent Shows: If you’ve got a hidden talent or just love to sing, the karaoke and talent shows are the perfect venues. These events are open to all attendees and provide a supportive environment for people to shine. Highlights include:

                    • Karaoke: A staple of many conventions, karaoke sessions range from informal gatherings in hotel rooms to full-fledged events with professional sound systems. Sing your heart out to your favorite tunes, whether you’re performing solo or with friends.
                    • Talent Shows: These showcases offer a platform for a wide variety of talents. From magic tricks and dance routines to unique skills like puppetry or juggling, the talent shows are always full of surprises and delight.

                    Fursuit Dance Parties: No furry convention is complete without fursuit dance parties. These lively events invite everyone to hit the dance floor, whether you’re in a fursuit or not. With DJs spinning upbeat tracks and colorful lights setting the mood, these parties are all about having fun and letting loose. The sight of fursuiters dancing together is truly a joyous and unforgettable experience.

                    Live DJ Sets and Raves: For those who love electronic music and a high-energy atmosphere, live DJ sets and raves are a convention highlight. Professional and amateur DJs alike bring their best mixes, keeping the dance floor packed and the energy levels high. These events often run late into the night, creating an immersive and exciting environment for all attendees.

                    Drag Shows: Many furry conventions feature fabulous drag shows, blending the art of drag with furry culture. These performances are known for their creativity, dazzling costumes, and high entertainment value. Drag artists within the furry community bring their unique flair to the stage, creating shows that are both captivating and inclusive.

                    Open Mic and Jam Sessions: For those who prefer a more laid-back and spontaneous atmosphere, open mic nights and jam sessions are perfect. These events allow musicians, poets, and performers to take the stage without prior sign-ups, fostering an environment of creativity and camaraderie. Jam sessions, in particular, encourage collaboration among musicians, often leading to impromptu performances that are as memorable as they are unique.

                    Puppet Shows and Storytelling: Puppetry and storytelling have a special place in the furry community, and conventions often feature dedicated sessions for these art forms. Puppet shows can range from whimsical and funny to poignant and thought-provoking, while storytelling sessions offer a chance for writers and narrators to share their tales with an appreciative audience.

                    Furry conventions are a celebration of creativity, and the entertainment and performances are a testament to the incredible talent and passion within the community. Whether you’re performing, participating, or simply enjoying the show, these events add a dynamic and unforgettable dimension to the convention experience.

                      Fursuiting

                      What’s a furry convention without fursuits? These intricate, often handmade costumes are a staple of the furry community. Fursuiting is all about creativity and expression. There are different types of fursuits, from full-body suits to partials and everything in between. Remember, fursuiting etiquette is key – always ask before hugging a fursuiter and respect their space.

                        After Hours and Parties

                        When the sun sets, the party begins! After-hours events and parties are a big part of the convention experience. Dance the night away at a themed party, join a sing-along, or relax with friends in a quieter setting. Remember to party responsibly and respect the con’s policies – after all, we want everyone to have a good time!

                          Image Of Fursuiters At The Anthro New England Furry Convention

                          Image via WBUR

                          Tips For A Successful Convention Experience

                          To make the most of your convention experience, keep these tips in mind:

                          • Stay hydrated and take breaks to avoid burnout.
                          • Familiarize yourself with the convention layout to easily navigate between events.
                          • Be respectful to all attendees and follow the convention rules.
                          • Most importantly, have fun and embrace the furry spirit!

                            Conclusion

                            Furry conventions are a magical mix of creativity, community, and fun. Whether you’re attending for the first time or the fiftieth, there’s always something new to discover and enjoy. So, don your ears and tail, and step into the enchanting world of furry conventions. Who knows? You might just make memories (and friends) that will last a lifetime.

                            author image

                            Author

                            Xege Kheiru

                            Jennifer is an ex-costume designer turned fursuit maker, better known by her fursona's name Xege Kheiru. Under this alias she has written extensively for the Fursonafy blog and many others on the topic of fursuit making and general information about the furry fandom.

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