No, we're not talking about the kind of gatherings that would have the folks at PETA bursting a blood vessel; "furries," for the uninitiated, are usually described as "anthropomorphic" animal characters with human traits. Some say that to distinguish such a creature from, say, a mere "cartoon" character like Bugs Bunny would be splitting hairs, but don't tell that to fans, enough of whom are around to engender a number of conventions and other gatherings around the globe, often featuring a charitable component. Here are a handful:
Mephit Furmeet, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2012, Olive Branch, Miss.; memphitfurmeet.org
Held every year (usually in Memphis, Tenn.) since 1997, the Mephit Furmeet draws some 700 furry fans, many in costume, from all walks of life; the official mascot is an anthropomorphic skunk. Like at most of these events, here you'll find dealers galore (graphic novels, videos, dolls, etc., although they probably use a more highfalutin term for "dolls," like "anthropomorphic figurines") and colorful presentations. Past guests of honor have included "furry comedian" Isfacat and the "fursuiter" known as PandaGuy.
Midwest FurFest, Nov. 16-18, 2012, Rosemont, Ill.; furfest.org
Last year's FurFest drew some 2,600 "furry folks," with $18,500 raised via auction and other activities to benefit Animal Rescue and Education. This year, guest stars will include nature artist Jennifer Miller-Nambroth and Den Barrett, aka FirestormSix, a fursuit creator.
MiDFur, Dec. 4-8, 2012m Melbourne, Australia; midfur.com.au
This will be the 14th MiDFur, said to be the largest such convention in Australia, complete with a gala ball, a costume parade and a talent show. Last year's event drew 372 attendees and raised approximately US$8,050 for charity. The theme this year is "The Furry Apocalypse Cometh," which neatly opens the doors to interested doomsday devotees as well.
Furry Weekend Atlanta, March 14-17, 2013; furryweekend.com
Furry Weekenders will celebrate their 10th Atlanta confab next year, the first at the Westin Atlanta, where close to 2,000 attendees are expected, along with special guests of honor Hibbary and Yippee Coyote. This year's event donated $18,000 to the Conservators' Center Inc., including $1,440 from a poker tournament.
VancouFur, March 2013, Burnaby, British Columbia; vancoufur.org (still under construction at press time)
This year's inaugural event, held March 9-11, drew 347 attendees, with 73 fursuiters strutting their stuff (youtube.com/watch?v=C8ORd0_1b4E). Guest of honor: Thumper.
Source: Meetings & Conventions