Furries are back: Anthrocon kicks off in Downtown Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — If you’re heading Downtown, you’ll notice the furries are back!

Their big convention kicked off Thursday, and they’re happy to be back after a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

In 2019, the Anthrocon convention attracted nearly 9,500 people to Pittsburgh from every continent except Antarctica.

This year, organizers are expecting more than 11,000 people to turn up.

“We know that Downtown is not what it was pre-pandemic, but when Anthrocon is here all of that is suddenly forgotten and so many people get so excited to have so many wonderful customers back,” said Susan Klein, chief marketing officer of VisitPITTSBURGH.

The conference first came to Pittsburgh in 2006.

Since then, it has generated more than $70 million for the local economy.

It has also raised close to $350,000 for Western Pennsylvania animal-related charities.

“No other city has rolled out the welcome mat. No one has gotten so into it the way Pittsburgh has. Our convention has almost become a city-wide festival. And that absolutely thrills us,” said Dr. Sam Conway, chairman and CEO of Anthrocon.

New this year is a block party on Penn Avenue, followed by a parade.

Expect road closures. But it’s sure to be a sight to witness this Saturday.

“I can’t imagine anything that’s better than summer in Pittsburgh beginning with Anthrocon,” Klein said.

Anthrocon starts today and wraps up on Sunday.

Here’s a fun fact — one of the most expensive costumes at this year’s convention costs $20,000.