Fur lovers—kinky or not—gather in Wheeling
November 22, 2008
Nearly 2,000 people from around the world have descended on a Wheeling hotel for what's billed as the "third-largest" gathering on Earth of "furry fandom." These are devotees of anthropomorphic animals—think Disney's "Bambi"—some of whom make elaborate mascot-type costumes and attend dressed as gigantic plush foxes or bears.
Though outsiders find their hobby strange and perhaps kinky (thanks to a certain episode of HBO's "Entourage"), Tom Brady of Grayslake, chairman of this year's Midwest Furfest, said that's because most have never attended.
"It's something that's really misunderstood, and if people just came to see it, it's a very family-friendly atmosphere," said Brady. "It's weird, but it's a fun kind of weird."
Not that news media are exactly welcome. Brady said reporters must be accompanied by a liaison, a thankless role that no one was available to fill Thursday or Friday.
Though Brady said some people trace it back to Egyptian mythology, furry fandom got its modern start in the 1970s, he said. And the largest furry convention in the world? Anthrocon—in Pittsburgh, of all places, Brady said.
Midwest Furfest, which runs through Sunday, began in 2000, Brady said.
This year's sessions, according to the Midwest Furfest Web site, include "Advanced Pawpets," "Basic Head Construction," "Latex Casting Made Easy," as well as special seminars for furries who are Christians, musicians, motorcycle enthusiasts or in the military.
Honestly, could they have avoided the use of the word "kinky" in the headline?
The other lol? This article is flagged in sports because it mentions Tom Brady, so I'm pretty certain a few New England folks are going, wait, wtf?