The article concerns last weekend's Furry Migration convention, and includes quotes from attendees Alexander Zalewski, Banana, and Miaka.
"Don't be afraid to have fun even if it's a little weird, because being a little weird is really a good thing." That's good advice in general, but embracing the weird was essential for the Twin Cities furry community over the weekend.
At the second-annual Furry Migration convention, more than 100 furries from across the metro took over the Hyatt Regency. Clad in their signature fur suits and letting their "fursonas" (fur-personas) fly high, they gathered to celebrate their love of the furry fandom.
Furries are part of a subculture that champions the, well, furrier beings on the planet by role playing as anthropomorphic animal characters. The furry community channels these animals as an expression of their creativity, and they often role play as an original character or "fursona" they feel is an extension of themselves.
"I'd always been interested in werewolves in general," says convention-goer Alexander Zalewski. As a kid, he was drawn to films like The Lion King, Balto, and All Dogs Go to Heaven, so naturally he went with those lupine vibes when coming up with his original character Stopthat.
"I have a lot of the same traits as canines," another fursuiter named Banana explains, citing loyalty and high energy. "I have a small group of friends — rather than a large group of acquaintances — that I trust equivalent to a pack." Banana's name is apt, since the character's bright-red fursuit is covered with "strategically placed" bananas and yellow accents.
But there are more than just canines at Furry Migration. You'll see just about every kind of fuzzy animal at a convention like this, including bats (with huge gauged ears!), cats, and deer.
"I found an animal that I could relate to in both size and personality," says Miaka, whose fursona is a Shetland pony, an animal that isn't very common in the furry community. "I always loved horses growing up, so it seemed natural to pick that."
Despite the vast variety in fauna at the convention, it was clear that they were all in pursuit of one thing: fun.
Miaka explains the appeal of uniting with a bevy of like-minded fursuiters. "I get to break out of the norm and be more extroverted than I would in the normal, mundane world," she says.
Banana is of the same mindset. "That's his [character's] big thing: Everybody has to have fun."