Record Numbers For 'Anthrocon', The Annual Meet-Up For Furries
Record numbers of 'Furries' are attending Pittsburgh's Anthrocon convention this year.
Organisers of the annual Anthrocon say that they're expecting a record crowd of around 10,000 Furries to attend this year, with more than 2,000 costumed participants already taking part in the city parade.
According to the festival, which began in 2006, the attendees have travelled from across the U.S. and more than 20 other nations to join the celebrations.
The Fursuit walk took place on Saturday, with 2,132 Furries parading around the David L. Lawrence Convention Center while hundreds of people lined the streets around them.
Furries are a subculture interested in adopting anthropomorphised animal characters. Occasionally these characters are taken on by wearing suits but they are mostly created by establishing online personas or 'fursonas', often with mythical qualities.
While Furries are often strongly associated with a sexual subculture of people who enjoy participating in sexual activities as their 'fursonas', this is actually a small subsection of the community.
One survey from the International Anthropomorphic Research Project found that male Furries spend about 34 percent of their time roleplaying with sexual content related to the subculture online, while female Furries only spend about 21 percent of their time doing the same.
One Anthrocon organiser told CBS Pittsburgh that Furries are often drawn to the subculture for reasons of social isolation.
"We were the skinny kid that never really got picked at recess. We were the fat kid that may have been picked on a little bit too much. We were the brainy kid that everyone wanted to cheat off of, but nobody ever wanted to invite to parties," they said.
Anthrocon has contributed significantly to the Pittsburgh's economy since its inception, with president of Visit Pittsburgh stating the festival has contributed $US 71 million to the local economy since 2006.
The festival has also raised nearly $US 295,000 for animal-related charities in Pennslvania since its first year. This year, PEARL Parrots Rescue will be receiving the raised funds.