Anthrocon returns to Pittsburgh for its annual convention
The furries return to the ‘Burgh – and in greater numbers.
After missing the past two years due to the pandemic, the annual Anthrocon convention will be held June 30 through July 3 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
“We had to expand to an 11th hotel,” said John “KP” Cole, public outreach director for the convention, who lives in Orlando, Florida. “In 2019, there were 9,358 participants. We are looking at over 10,000 this year.
The event celebrates anthropomorphs, which are human-like animal characters. It brings together artists, animators, writers, costumers, puppeteers and fans who love cartoon animals.
Most costumes fall in the $3,500 to $6,500 price range, but can cost significantly more.
They’re works of art, said Cole, whose character is a puppy, adding that it makes him more outgoing.
“He’s my inner child,” Cole said.
According to Cole, Pittsburgh feels like home because the city is welcoming and there’s so much to do, from pirate games and museums to restaurants and shopping.
People come from all over the world. The convention has been held here since 2006.
“The first time we visited Pittsburgh, we were blown away by this city,” Cole said. “We went through this tunnel and saw a beautiful and spectacular downtown. This is definitely Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.
It’s a city that values artists and their work, Cole said.
“The return of conventions, especially ones as unique as Anthrocon, is fantastic for Downtown,” said Richard Hooper, vice president of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “Interesting events bring extra energy and excitement to our streets and help support many local businesses.”
Susan Klein, VisitPittsburgh’s chief marketing officer, said with people traveling again, she’s glad the furries are coming back.
“We welcome them because they are a joyful event,” Klein said. “They spread through the city center and lift people’s spirits. They are funny. The city rolls out the red carpet for them.
We hope you are as excited for our new #Anthrocon Block Party is happening this year, which will run all day on Penn Avenue! ???????
Check out more details on our website! https://t.co/RxW166Djbi
Photo: https://t.co/2fv6ABeIWF pic.twitter.com/P5pT0zZEmr
— #Anthrocon, Inc. (@anthrocon) May 28, 2022
New this year is the Anthrocon Block Party from noon to 9 p.m. on July 2 on Penn Avenue between 9th and 11th Streets. The fursuit parade will take place at 2 p.m. on July 2 and will end at the block party.
• From 2019: Furries feel love from Pittsburghers at start of Anthrocon
Each year, the convention supports a charity. This year it’s Wildlife Works Inc. in Youngwood. It is a non-profit organization serving Westmoreland County and surrounding areas, dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of wildlife in distress and the preservation of native species, habitats and the environment. .
Klein said the convention — along with the recent Pride Parade, Pittsburgh Marathon and Arts Festival and Juneteenth this weekend — means the city is back to hosting big events.
“(The furries) bring energy and their wallets to the city of Pittsburgh,” Klein said. “They shop and dine here. You can’t miss them. They are a fun-loving group of people. They haven’t been together for years. I love seeing them here.
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