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Anthrocon (abbreviated AC) is the world's largest furry convention, taking place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker each June or July. Its focus is on furries: fictional anthropomorphized animal characters in art and literature. The convention was first held in 1997 in New York State, and draws over 3,000 attendees annually.


Founded in 1997 as Albanymarker Anthrocon (AAC) in New York Statemarker, with a membership of about 500, the convention moved to Valley Forge, Pennsylvaniamarker in 1999 and to a larger hotel, the Adams Mark, on the outskirts of Philadelphia in 2001 as its attendance continued to grow. Membership in 2003 was announced as 1,949. In 2004 it was 2,406, making it by far the largest furry convention at that time.

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 Philadelphiamarker), 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.marker Lawrence Convention Centermarker between June 15-18, 2006. Despite concerns that the move to Pittsburgh and temporary date shift would decrease attendance, it actually rose to 2,489, which was enough to ensure the future of the convention for July 5-8, 2007.

The chairman of the convention since 1999, Dr. Samuel Conway (nicknamed "Kagemushi" or "Uncle Kage" among attendees), oversees the operations of the Anthrocon with the help of a small staff and a number of volunteers who donate their time and energy throughout the weekend to assist the multitude of small tasks which arise. Since 1997, Anthrocon has donated more than $86,000 to animal-related charities.

As of 2007 Anthrocon is featured in the Guinness World Records (2008 Edition) as the "largest furry fan club" in the world. At closing ceremonies of the 2007 convention it was announced that another claim has been made for the record of "most mascots in a parade". The Guinness Worlds Record organization was to be present in 2008 to verify the new record.

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 brings approximately $3 million to the Pittsburgh economy, and is among the city's top ten largest conventions.

Anthrocon 2006 Artists' Alley
Anthrocon's dealers, artists and art show share one large hall (photo: dealers area)
Fursuit dance at Anthrocon 2005
Several Anthrocon 2007 directors
Mark Evanier and Carolyn Kelly

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).

Anthrocon provides a number of specialized 'tracks' of programming with similar furry based themes and scheduled 'events'.

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

Year Location Attendance Charity
1997 Albany, NY 300 est $2,200 Therapy Dogs/K9 Friends
1998 Albany, NY 600 est $3,092 Whiskers
1999 Valley Forge, NY 842 $3,600 Great Valley Nature Center
2000 Valley Forge, NY 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

Themes and Guests of Honor by Year

Every year the convention has several Guests of Honor - prominent individuals who are compensated for their attendance and travel expenses. Past Guests of Honor at Anthrocon have included:
Year Theme Guests of Honor
1997 An East Coast Furry Convention artist Daphne Lage
artist Watts Martin
1998 Here There Be Dragons artist Jim Groat
artist Jeffery A.

1999 Join the Furry Revolution artist Vicky Wyman
artist 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.

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
2011 The Anthropomorphic Institute of Magic
2012 A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The "Zoo"

The Zoo at Anthrocon 2004.

The Zoo is a customary area of the Anthrocon convention space in which attendees may lounge freely, eat and drink, rest, draw, chat, and generally "decompress" from the bustle and crowding of the rest of the convention events going on around them.

The Zoo has existed as such in Anthrocon programming since 2000, except in 2005 as there were no rooms available to dedicate for the space, and because the hotel lobby bar was available for essentially the same purpose. There were also an open hotel restaurant and adjacent sitting areas throughout the lobby, ballroom, and mezzanine floor balconies which served as de facto Zoo space during the 2005 convention.

As attendance of Anthrocon grows, it will become more and more crucial to provide adequate loitering space for attendees to congregate which is not immediately around doorways, elevators, and other public hotel-space which must be shared with hotel staff and guests not attending the convention.

As a large part of the 'experience' of Anthrocon is interpersonal socialization, the more customary convention programming is ultimately unable to suffice by itself. This, combined with the effects of jet lag (due to attendees traveling from across the country and even as far away as Japanmarker), and sleep deprivation due to attempting to attend as many events as possible and meet as many people as possible within the general 4-day time frame of the convention, gives rise to a definite need to have space more or less devoted to small-group socialization, and relaxation without the need to return to a hotel room (an increasingly arduous and lengthy endeavor as the ratio of attendance to convention space goes up).


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