On other more niche websites such as furaffinity, people have developed regional/local meets and specific "group" pages that update when and where these events occur. DeviantART has even pushed the idea of "devmeets" which is very similar to what furry fans have put together offsite. Of course, when these regional meets grow in size, some of them become conventions, and the bigger they get, the more room for artistic and social networking there is. In an age where we are constantly communicating through a screen, meeting people from the internet in real life is a very rewarding experience. You can put a face, a voice, and an actual person behind the username.
Consider the opportunities a meet or convention can provide.
1.] People meet each other in real life, thus promoting respect AND building new friendships
2.] Whether they identify as "furry" or "anthro appreciator" everyone unites under one roof to enjoy the things they like.
3.] It is a brilliant way to network with other artists, share tools of the trade and tips
4.] also a great way for artists to make a ton of money - and promotes entrepreneurship.
5.] Great way to get your name out there. Want more commissions? Go to Cons! People impulse buy on things they can see in front of them.
6.] Buy artwork of your character! It's also a fun excuse to make your own reference sheets and badges too!
STAY SAFE! Although meeting people from the internet is fun, please remember to stay safe and only go to meets where other people are going. Go with a friend! If you're under 18, you'll need a parent as most conventions require a parent or guardian to attend with you if you are under 18. Do your research and make safe choices. Do not make plans to meet someone alone. Make sure you always have someone you trust with you.
Some Furry Convention Myths Debunked!
People avoid furry conventions for some pretty silly reasons. If you're missing out on a fabulous opportunity because of a rumor or the word "furry" in the title, what a shame. Here are some common excuses I've heard from people when asked why they refuse to go to a furry convention or a meet. These responses come from my experience and several artists I know who are convention regulars.
I'm not a furry. Only furries go to Furry Conventions
Actually, you don't have to be a "furry" to go to a Furry Convention. I've seen people who identify in the anime community and comic book communities there. I've seen the "I'm anthro, not furry" people there too. Heck, my fiance's parents came with us to FurFright last year and they found it loads of fun! I'm not saying its a place to take your grandma or super conservative older brother, but if you want a good time and see some fun things, you should go!
Fursuiters are creepy people that do weird stuff "in the bedroom" with their suits on!
That's about as ignorant as saying "Scuba-Divers are weirdos that do naughty things in their scuba gear in the bedroom". The most extreme in any part of fan-culture is going to get the most attention. For the record, most people who fursuit do it for fun. Think of it like cosplay, but instead of dressing up as your favorite anime character, you're dressing up as your original character- which is a lot of fun! It's an opportunity for skilled costume artists to show off their incredible work and its an opportunity to experience something like Halloween more than once a year. Do people do strange things in suit? Some people do. But people do strange things all the time, suit or not. It really shouldn't be anyone's business if you dress like sailor moon while humping your partner at night.
I don't have a fursuit or a badge... I won't be able to relate to anyone!
You, my friend, have come to the best place to relate to people who have a common interest in anthropomorphism. You don't need a fursuit or any flashy things. Just come as yourself and most importantly, TALK TO PEOPLE. Furries, although socially awkward sometimes, like to talk. Find out where people are hanging out and go explore! Bring a sketchbook and find a buddy to draw with you! Bring a game or two! Also, there are people who are nerds for just about everything so you won't be alone!
People won't want to buy my art
If it's furry, people will buy it. If you get a dealer table or an artist alley table, make sure you smile and look at people when they come to your space. It's important to make eye contact and talk to them. Get to know your potential patrons! Also, don't forget to ask someone to watch your table and go check out other artists' tables. You can talk to them and gather ideas for how to improve your set up if you feel you are struggling.
Furries smell Horrible!
Considering most con-goers are in late adolescence or college, yes, you will run into people that may smell of young adulthood or may still be learning how to shower properly. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to de-stink their costumes properly either. Do not be afraid, though. For every stinky person, there is someone who smells nice and is armed with several bottles of febreeze. You can also help this cause by remembering your toiletries and setting a good example. As for fursuiters, only one out of every 50 are smelly in my experience.
Notable Upcoming Conventions!
Here are some notable upcoming cons that you still have time to register for!
Anthrocon, the world's largest Furry convention (attendance 5,179 in 2012), will be held from July 4-7, 2013 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Their theme is "Fast and FURRious." Guests of Honor to be announced.
Midwest FurFest is the second largest Furry convention (attendance 3,216 in 2013) will be held November 22-24, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, IL. Their theme will be "The Pirates of Lake Michigan."
- RainFurrest will be held September 26-29, 2013 in Seattle, WA (attendance 1,705 in 2012).
- Eurofurence will be held August 21-25, 2013 in Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany (attendance 1,232 in 2012).
- Furry Connection North will be held April 12-14, 2013 in Novi, MI (attendance 1,179 in 2012).
- Califur will be held May 31-June 2, 2013 in Irvine, CA (attendance 949 in 2012).
- Camp Feral! (an outdoor Furry convention founded in 1998) will be held August 22-26, 2013 in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
- FurFright (attendance cap at 1500 in 2012) will be held October 25-27, 2013 in Cromwell, CT. Furfright is THE Halloween con!
- FurAffinity United 6 (attendance 629 in 2012) will be held August 17-19, 2013 in Whippany, NJ. Official con of Furaffinity
Are you interested in attending a meet? Meets can happen just about anywhere- bowling alleys and parks are popular settings for regional/local meets. One place you can look for upcoming meets in your area is the Furries. Meetup site. Another place to look is within various meet groups on fA if you have an account there. For instance I follow NewEnglandFurs for all local meet postings. I would like to develop a similar system here. I will need your help though!
I will be making future blogs about hosting local meets in the future. If you are interested in hosting a meet, please comment so below!
What should you Bring to an Anthro/Furry Con or Meet?
That's a great question! For a complete list for the serious con-goer, see HERE. But below are some general things you should remember to bring!
1.] Cash! Dealers are just starting to use the "Square" which can take credit and debit cards but a lot of dealers still take cash.
2.] Toiletries! Make sure you have your toothbrush, shampoo, and anything else you need to keep fresh.
3.] Febreeze! For yourself if you fursuit or have hotel roomates that are stinky. There may be the occasional person who just needs to be sprayed.
4.] Badge! Con-goers make a badge of their character to let others know who they are. Badges are an essential part of self expression....and security >>.
5.] Reference Sheet! If you plan on buying commissions of your character(s), make sure you have a good visual reference of your character's design.
6.] Fursuit and/or FurryWear! If you have a fursuit or furry-themed wearable things, bring them! it's part of the fun!
7.] Sketchbook & Pencils! Many dealers do sketches at an affordable price! Also, its fun to hang out and do art trades with artists in the common areas of the con!
If you have any questions or thoughts about conventions and devmeets for this community, let us know!