More than 2,000 dragons, unicorns, wolves, jungle cats, and foxes marched the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh today as part of the annual Anthrocon Fursuit Walk, donning their finest furs for the occasion.
“For the attendees, it’s important because it’s showing off who we are and what we do. For the city, it’s a thank you — thank you for being our home,” said Waylon Darosh, the convention’s programming director. He also goes by “Ashe,” a character he describes as a “nine-foot-tall white tiger in a six-foot human body.”
“These suits are homemade and handmade,” Darosh said. “The parade was really a way to show, ‘I did this. I made this.’”
Attendees lined up hours early, packing Downtown near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to admire the fursuits, wave, cheer, and slap high fives. Mercifully for those in costume, the humidity abated and temperatures plunged this morning after a week of stifling heat.
A fursuiter called Yappy Fox came up with the idea to host a parade as a showcase of artistry. It started as an internal affair, just for Anthrocon attendees, and then five years ago, Anthrocon leaders decided to move it outside into the public.
“We went outside, and the city loved it,” said Darosh, who attended University of Pittsburgh and now lives in Seattle. “It’s a fun experience, and we love the city — it’s so welcoming.”
During the hour-long parade, fursuiters walked slowly because of limited visibility in their suits. They also tried to not to stay outside too long because of the heat. Fursuiters hosted an indoor public meet-and-greet session after the parade for “photos, hugs, impromptu performance art,” Darosh said.
In total, more than 8,000 people attended Anthrocon this year, including people from all 50 states and countries as far away as Japan and Australia. It’s Anthrocon’s 13th year in Pittsburgh, and the theme for the year was “Movie Monsters.”
Here’s what we saw at the Fursuit Walk — what Darosh describes as “a magical event.”