It describes Anthrocon's impact on the local economy.
The business of the furry convention
Anthrocon estimated to bring in $5.7 million to Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH —One of the largest conventions to hit Pittsburgh is back this weekend, and it’s bringing a whole lot of business with it.
Anthrocon 2015 (also known as the furry convention) hits the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this weekend. Businesses downtown are already preparing for 6,000 fursuitted guests to arrive.
Visit Pittsburgh estimates that Anthrocon 2015 will bring in $5.7 million in direct spending to the city of Pittsburgh. The furries also collect donations for a local charity every year. This year’s is the Humane Society of Western PA.
Tom Martini, general manager of the Westin hotel, said Anthrocon is always the second or third largest convention for the hotel every year. Martini said there are around 2,300 rooms booked for Anthrocon this year.
The Pittsburgh Business Times stresses just how important the convention is for the area in the summer.
Last year, according to their book of lists, Anthrocon was the sixth largest convention in Pittsburgh, including destination events including the NCAA hockey championship and the Pittsburgh marathon.
“Anthrocon specifically, the furries, tend to be pretty social and get out into the neighborhood and frequent the restaurants and the bars in the area,” said Pittsburgh Business Times research director Ethan Lott. “From talking to them, those establishments expect to see increases in their businesses and they look forward to them coming to town.”
No one prepares quite like Fernando’s Café on Liberty Avenue, a short walk from the Convention Center.
At one time, Fernado’s was slated to close. Taking a look at the restaurant’s Facebook page, one finds that the furries are responsible for pulling owner Ali Budak and his business out of the recession.
The post on the page, shared from another Facebook user and titled “Furnandocon 2012” states that the furries came together back in 2012 and raised a total of $21,000 in donations to support this local Pittsburgh business.
“We have our regulars come in every other Friday, they’re from Pittsburgh,” said Budak, who was setting up his t-shirt and bowl stand when Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 arrived. “I just love them so much because they bring a lot of business here. They bring fun, they bring happiness, and they just bring the childhood out in us again.”
Budak is offering his “bowl special” to convention goers for $15, including a wrap, two slices of pizza, a drink, and chips. He says the lasagna wrap is the most popular thing of the furries.
Furryland Café also serve breakfast every morning at 7 for their furry friends.
“We turn this place, instead of Fernado’s, to Furryland Café, so we just work for them, for a whole week, we help them.”
Budak says he is going to have cooling stations all over the restaurant and outside, with cold water and big fans to help those who helped him.
If you see a furry this weekend downtown, don’t be afraid to say hello to these people who may be a bit different than you. Ask (stress: ASK) for a selfie or photo with them, and send them in to WTAE using #WTAEfurries. Stay tuned to the link to our LiveWire for everything furry this weekend.