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Anthrocon convention brings flurry of Furries to Pittsburgh

Mary Pickels
| Monday, July 2, 2018, 1:45 p.m.
The Furries return to Pittsburgh this week. Above, Anthrocon attendee Patricia Weeks of Lowell, Ind., poses for pictures on the top deck during a Gateway Clipper cruise around Pittsburgh for attendees of the 2017 Anthrocon.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
The Furries return to Pittsburgh this week. Above, Anthrocon attendee Patricia Weeks of Lowell, Ind., poses for pictures on the top deck during a Gateway Clipper cruise around Pittsburgh for attendees of the 2017 Anthrocon.
Pittsburgh's favorite Furries are in town through July 8. Shown, attendees of Anthrocon 2017 line up for a group photo inside the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh's favorite Furries are in town through July 8. Shown, attendees of Anthrocon 2017 line up for a group photo inside the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
Downtown residents and workers can make friends with Furries later this week, as the Anthrocon convention opens Thursday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Above, Jason Lehman from Atlanta, Ga., chats with furry 'Wilson T. Longtail' during the 2016 event.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Downtown residents and workers can make friends with Furries later this week, as the Anthrocon convention opens Thursday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Above, Jason Lehman from Atlanta, Ga., chats with furry 'Wilson T. Longtail' during the 2016 event.
Figuring out the costumes is half the fun when the 'Furries' come to town. Their invasion of Pittsburgh begins Thursday as Anthrocon 2018 opens. Above, people dressed as 'furries' hang outside the Westin Hotel during the 2016 convention.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Figuring out the costumes is half the fun when the 'Furries' come to town. Their invasion of Pittsburgh begins Thursday as Anthrocon 2018 opens. Above, people dressed as 'furries' hang outside the Westin Hotel during the 2016 convention.

Keep your eyes peeled. And, in the spirit of offering kindness to strangers, maybe have a spare water bottle handy.

The (13th annual) summer invasion of Anthrocon and Furries is about to arrive in Pittsburgh.

Anthrocon 2018 will be held Thursday through Sunday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center

• Over 7,000 participants are expected, according to the convention's Facebook page. Many convention attendees choose to go by their character names when in costume. Their reasons for joining the fandom are varied – from a love of cartoons to just something new to try.

• Costumes are only part of the convention for many of those attending, board member John Cole says in an earlier interview. He adds that Anthrocon is different than, for example, a science fiction convention or Harry Potter convention in that there is no preconceived storyline. Only about 20 percent of Anthrocon attendees partake in costuming. Some write, some draw — it's all about telling a story, Cole says.

• Also, Furries dig a little dancing.

• Furries become temporary yinzers, partaking in much of what Pittsburgh has to offer and enjoying its dining and entertainment options.

Looks like pizza might be on the menu.

Just like last year, the Furries plan to board the Gateway Clipper, checking out the downtown waterways on Thursday and Friday.

• The annual Fursuit parade starts around 2 p.m. Saturday, leading off from the convention center, down 10th Street to French Street and back up 10th to the center's West Lobby, where parade watchers can meet their favorites and grab a selfie or two.

Guidelines are:

• It's going to be a hot week for those donning fursuits, but at least one local meteorologist is doing his part to keep the Furries comfortable.

And the Senator John Heinz History Center is embracing the convention's attendees, inviting "all furries and anthropomorphics" to cool off during the high temperatures expected this week and enjoy a 50 percent discount on admission to those presenting their Anthrocon 2018 badges.

Furries interested in learning more about their host city, and its history, can visit heinzhistorycenter.org

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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