Eye of the Tiger: Furries seek to set record at convention this weekend

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It's that time again: Like the swallows to San Juan Capistrano, except more elaborately attired, The Furries are coming back to Pittsburgh for Anthrocon 2013. And just when you thought Pittsburghers might be getting a little jaded about the sight of people walking Downtown streets in fursuits ... the Furries are kicking it up a notch. This year, they hope to make the Guinness Book of World Records by staging the "World's Largest Fursuit Parade."

The furries' bid for immortality will take place Saturday afternoon at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which is hosting Anthrocon July 4-7. (The theme of the 2013 Convention? "The Fast and the Furrious.") The parade is open to convention attendees only -- so please don't dust off that old gorilla suit and expect to become part of history. (At least not at this particular event.) The march will take place entirely indoors.

"It gets really hot in the suits," explains Karl Jorgensen, an Anthrocon spokesman. "You don't want to make people walk for miles outdoors." Especially not in July.

And especially not given the rigorous standards for being counted in the record books. According to the rules for participation, joining in the parade requires "at minimum, a headpiece, hand-paws, foot-paws and a tail (if applicable by species); if using latex and makeup, it must completely cover exposed surfaces. Skin must not be visible when the costume is worn."

And although Anthrocon organizers expect some 5,500 attendees at this year's convention, most members of the "furry fandom" do not wear full fursuits. (As a press release from our local tourism bureau helpfully explains, "The Anthrocon convention attracts artists, animators, costumers, puppeteers and just everyday fans who enjoy cartoon animals.") The parade itself is expected to draw about 1,100 fur-suited participants -- about the same number a similar event drew last year. This time, though, Jorgensen expects Guinness officials to be on hand, counting heads (and presumably other species-applicable appendages).

Which raises the question: What is the current record for "largest fursuit parade"?

"I don't think there is a record currently" Jorgensen says. However, he says, the 2007 Anthrocon -- also held in Pittsburgh -- did warrant a mention in the Guinness book for "largest furry fan club."

I should certainly hope so!

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