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4:31 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

World’s Largest Cartoon Animal Convention Returns to Pittsburgh

Sam Parga, 30, of LaGrange, Ga., snaps a photo of friends Wednesday in the run-up to Anthrocon at the Westin Convention Center Hotel.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Billed as the world's largest furry convention, Anthrocon is returning to Pittsburgh Thursday through Sunday. The much-anticipated Pittsburgh tradition is expected to attract more than 5,500 participants, some in costume, some not.

“We’re all furries,” said Anthrocon Inc. CEO Samuel Conway. “That’s the catch-all term for the fandom. We are furries. The people in the costume – we refer to the costumes, our own little lingo, they are fursuits. So they are fursuiters, the people who are wearing them.”

Furries gather at the Westin Convention Center Hotel on Wednesday.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Anthrocon started in Albany, N.Y. in 1997 and has been held there, as well as in Valley Forge and Philadelphia, before coming to Pittsburgh seven years ago. Conway said he fell in love with the Steel City, and the convention has been here ever since. 

“It is gorgeous, and then when I got to know the people here, the people are gorgeous,” Conway said. “They rolled out the red carpet; they threw open their collective arms for us. We have been here since 2006 — We’ve doubled in numbers since then, and we’re going to continue to grow and we do not foresee ever going anywhere else. This is our home.”

Goldenwolf is a yellow and white wolf husky. He said he comes to Anthrocon because it’s the most social, memorable and fun convention he’s ever been to.

Due to television and movies, Furries can sometimes be misunderstood, but Goldenwolf said attendees of Anthrocon are just looking to have fun and share their furry fandom.

“With any type of group, no matter what group it is, there’s always going to be negativity for it, but it’s better to get your own personal view, and actually go out there and see what it’s all about instead of just looking online and talking to people,” Goldenwolf said.

Anthrocon 2013 includes numerous events such as dances, lectures, an art show, performances and Saturday’s big event: a furry parade. This year, the Anthrocon will attempt to set a Guiness World Record with the “World’s Largest Fursuit Parade.” 

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