For the past nine years, Pittsburgh has been home to the largest anthropomorphic convention in the world. For those who are unfamiliar, Anthropomorphism is the idea of giving human-like traits to non-human things. In this case, the human-like traits are applied to animals, which are the main basis for the anthropomorphic, or, what they are commonly known as – furries.
Since their incarnation, the world of furries has been speculated upon from the outside world. Anthrocon serves as a non-profit meeting ground for furries, a largely online-based community, from all over the United States as well as the world. Beginning in 1997, Anthrocon made its way from Albany, NY and eventually planted its roots in the Steel City in 2007. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the convention, which has taken on the theme “The Roaring Twenty” for the 2016 convention.
From June 30th to July 3rd, attendees can listen to speakers, meet other members of the fandom, and even shop from vendors that provide specialty anthropomorphic products at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Seminars, workshops, art shows, dances, and more are offered to all attendees who are curious about or want to expand their knowledge of the fandom. While those outside of furry fandom often regard it with negativity, the organization does a lot of good for Pittsburgh and for the general public and is steadily undoing the stigma affiliated with this large community. Auctions and raffles are held at the convention in order to raise funds for each annually chosen charity.
The charity chosen for the 2016 Anthrocon is the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. In the past, beneficiaries have included the Western PA Humane Society, Animal Friends, Hello Bully, and more. Most of the charities involve animals, animal rescues or shelters, but that is not always the case. A large amount of the proceeds from Anthrocon will go to this year’s beneficiary, with only a small amount kept to ensure the continuation of the convention for the following year.
While costumes are not required, varying degrees of anthropomorphic stylings can be seen throughout the duration of the convention. If you are interested in attending or helping raise money for this year’s Anthrocon and charity, check out anthrocon.org for more information. If you find yourself downtown through the duration of the week, keep an eye out for tails and paws as you just may make some furry friends.