"Secret Societies" in 2014
|Venue||David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Westin Convention Center Hotel
|Attendance||5179 in 2012|
|Organized by||Anthrocon, Inc.|
Anthrocon (abbreviated AC) is the world's largest furry convention, taking place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania each June or July. Its focus is on furries: fictional anthropomorphic animal characters in art and literature. The convention was first held in 1997 in New York State, and draws over 5,000 attendees annually. Attendance in 2013 was 5,577, with a fursuit parade of 1,200 and an economic impact of $6.2 million.
Background and History
Anthrocon was founded in 1997 as Albany Anthrocon (AAC) in New York State, with a membership of about 500. The convention was renamed to 'Anthrocon' and moved to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1999 and 2000; then to a larger hotel, the Adams Mark, on the outskirts of Philadelphia in 2001. Attendance grew each year, Anthrocon becoming the largest furry convention in 2001 with an attendance of 1,457; It has retained that position of the largest furry convention since. In 2004 it had climbed to 2,404 attendees in its final year at the Adams Mark.
Due to the unforeseen sale of the Adams Mark Hotel in November 2004, Anthrocon chose the Wyndham Franklin Plaza in Philadelphia as the site for its 2005 convention. Attendance that year dropped slightly to 2,373, due in part to higher parking fees, a different and unfamiliar hotel (the Wyndham Franklin Plaza in downtown Philadelphia), and possibly due to Hurricane Dennis's effect on the southern United States which closed many airports and prevented people from traveling. In June 2005, a contract with the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Pittsburgh was signed, and Anthrocon was scheduled to be held at the adjoining David L. Lawrence Convention Center between June 15 and 18, 2006. Despite concerns that the move to Pittsburgh would decrease attendance, it actually rose to 2,489, which was enough to ensure the future of the convention in Pittsburgh.
In 2007 Anthrocon was featured in the Guinness World Records (2008 Edition) as the "largest furry fan club" in the world. In 2008, Anthrocon became the first furry convention to have an attendance exceeding 3,000 members, the official count reaching 3,390. In 2009, attendance rose 11% to 3,776, and the Fursuit Parade count jumped to 640—a 41% increase. Anthrocon 2009 brought approximately $3 million to the Pittsburgh economy.
Anthrocon 2010 had an attendance of 4,238, the first furry convention to exceed 4,000 members; and by 2012 saw 5,179 attendees, with a Fursuit Parade exceeding 1,000. The admission price was also set overall at $60 for a four day pass, though pre-registered attendees paid $50. In 2013, Anthrocon contracted roomspace with seven of Pittsburgh's ten downtown hotels.
The chairman of the convention since 1999, Dr. Samuel Conway (nicknamed "Kagemushi" or "Uncle Kage" among attendees), oversees the operations of Anthrocon, with the help of convention staff and volunteers who donate their time and energy throughout the weekend to assist the multitude of small tasks which arise. Since 1997, Anthrocon has raised more than $170,000 for animal-related charities.
Typical Anthrocon programming and events
There are areas open most of the day to accommodate sales by Dealers and Artists as well as an area to congregate and socialize (see "The Zoo" below).
The programming tracks involve discussions and work groups focused on the application of furry in Art, Comedy and Improv, Computer Gaming, Costuming (Fursuits), Music, Puppetry, Role-Playing (both gaming and real-life), and Writing.
The scheduled events that take place are the Charity Auction, the Masquerade, the Fursuit Parade, nightly dances, Art Show Auctions, and special presentations by Uncle Kage and "2 the Ranting Gryphon".
Locations, attendances, and charity donations by year
|1997||Albany, NY||300 est||$2,200||Therapy Dogs/K9 Friends|
|1998||Albany, NY||600 est||$3,092||Whiskers|
|1999||Valley Forge, PA||842||$3,600||Great Valley Nature Center|
|2000||Valley Forge, PA||1,128||$6,534||The National Greyhound Adoption Program|
|2001||Philadelphia, PA||1,457||$7,237||Reins of Life|
|2002||Philadelphia, PA||1,648||$13,280||Canine Partners for Life|
|2003||Philadelphia, PA||1,949||$8,348||Support Our Shelters|
|2004||Philadelphia, PA||2,404||$7,200||Forgotten Felines & Fidos (FFF)|
|2005||Philadelphia, PA||2,370||$6,470||Greater Philadelphia Search & Rescue|
|2006||Pittsburgh, PA||2,489||$8,407||Western Pennsylvania National Wild Animal|
|2007||Pittsburgh, PA||2,849||$7,608||Animal Friends|
|2008||Pittsburgh, PA||3,390||$13,154||Pittsburgh Parrot Rescue|
|2009||Pittsburgh, PA||3,776||$8,993||Animal Rescue League Wildlife Rehabilitation|
|2010||Pittsburgh, PA||4,238||$12,849||Fayette Friends of Animals|
|2012||Pittsburgh, PA||5,179||$20,656||Hello Bully|
|2013||Pittsburgh, PA||5,577||$31,255||Equine Angels Rescue|
Themes and Guests of Honor by year
|Year||Theme||Guests of Honor|
|1997||An East Coast Furry Convention||artist Daphne Lage
author Watts Martin
|1998||Here There Be Dragons||artist Jim Groat
author Jeffrey A. Carver
|1999||Join the Furry Revolution||artist Vicky Wyman
author S. Andrew Swann
|2000||Furries of Myth and Legend||artist Sara "Caribou" Palmer
author Paul Kidd
|2001||Furries in Flight||comic-book artist Dan DeCarlo (creator of Josie and the Pussycats)
syndicated cartoonist Bill Holbrook
|2002||Inventions||author Lisanne Norman (of The Sholan Series)
artist Heather Bruton
|2003||Creatures of the Night||artist Guy Gilchrist
artist Mark E. Rogers
|2004||Summer Games||artist Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo)
artist Michael Gagne
|2005||Heroes||Peter Laird (co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Timothy Albee (director "Kaze, Ghost Warrior")
|2006||Making History||artist Scott Shaw! (creator of a number of comic book and cartoon characters)
Diane Duane (author of several series including So You Want to Be a Wizard
|2007||Looking to the Future||voice actor Rob Paulsen
writer Mark Evanier
artist Carolyn Kelly
|2008||It's a Jungle Out There||animator and Disney Legend Floyd Norman|
|2009||OMG Aliens||character developer and artist Joe Harris
character artist and story designer Ben Balistreri
illustrator and television producer Bob Boyle
|2010||Modern Stone-Age Furries||author and illustrator James Gurney
puppeteer and director Jim Martin
|2011||The Anthropomorphic Institute of Magic||author and illustrator Andy Runton
writer Peter S. Beagle
|2012||A Midsummer Night’s Dream||Comic Artist, Animator, Director, TV Repairman Mike Kazaleh|
|2013||The Fast and the Furrious||Writer Mercedes Lackey
illustrator Larry Dixon
animation writer, storyboard artist Tom Minton
- "AC2012Attendance". Anthrocon. 2012-06-17.
- Anthrocon, Inc. (2006-03-29). "Anthrocon History". Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- John Cole (2009-07-07). "Anthrocon 2009 – A Final Look Back".
- Karl Jorgensen (2009-07-06). "A Bunch Of Anthrocon News Coverage In One Convenient Post!".
- Brandolph, Adam (June 28, 2008). "Furry Convention $3 Million Cash Cow for City Businesses". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- Katie Notopoulos (June 20, 2012). "Are Furries Really So Bad?". Buzzfeed. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Anthrocon Events".
- "Anthrocon 2011 attendance". Anthrocon. 2011-06-26.
- Brian Harris (2011-06-28). "Anthrocon 2011 Charity Event Followup". Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Anthrocon's first guest of honor named, Uncle Kage, Anthrocon LiveJournal, 19 August 2006
- Anthrocon's 2007 Guests of Honor announced!, Uncle Kage, Anthrocon website, 12 Nov 2006
- Anthrocon – official website