When most people think of dressing up and parading around in costumes, the first thing to come to mind is usually Halloween, especially in autumn. However, the city of Pittsburgh is home to several conventions that bring in hundreds (some, even thousands) of excited folks in costumes from their favorite TV shows, video games, and for some, their imagination.
Two of these events are hosted yearly in the fall, both of which are considered smaller offshoots of two larger events.
Western PA Furry Weekend (WPAFW) 2013, which took place on October 11-13, brought in a record number of 132 attendees this year. WPAFW has taken place nearly every year since 2004, and has been steadily growing. While not nearly as large scale as Pittsburgh’s other furry event, Anthrocon, the mini-convention raised $1,714 for their chosen charity, Hide-E-Hole Ferret Rescue.
While there is no single definition of what a “furry” actually is, it can be summed up as lovers of humanized animals. Many furries that attend events like WPAFW and Anthrocon dress up as a personal character like this, either in a full face mask and costume or just by wearing a tail.
The Anthrocon website has a brochure describing the basics of the fandom, which can be found here: http://www.anthrocon.org/files/anthrocon/2013-WhatIsFurry-brochure-sm_0.pdf
The date for WPAFW 2014 is to be announced. More information on the event, as well as photos and related links, can be found at: http://www.wpafw.org
KuroKiiro Festival, which takes place from November 1-3 at the Boyd Community Center in Pittsburgh, is a similar family-friendly mini-convention. The focus of KuroKiiro, however, is Japanese pop-culture, and anime/manga fandom in particular.
This year, KuroKiiro’s list of special guests includes Crispin Freeman, a voice actor known for his work in Hellsing, Naruto, and Howl’s Moving Castle; Steve Rudzinski, a local Pittsburgh filmmaker; and the drumming ensemble Pittsburgh Taiko.
KuroKiiro Festival, as well the larger springtime convention Tekkoshocon, are both managed by members of Pittsburgh’s Japanese Culture Society.
Information on KuroKiiro can be found on its website: http://www.kurokiiro.com
Information on Tekkoshocon and other affiliated events can be found on: http://www. tekkoshocon.com