Con attendance – the dream of every member of any fandom. To have face time with people we usually only know as colourful avatars and screen names. To hang out with new people and get in on in-jokes!
I experienced this and much more when I attended ConFuzzled in Birmingham this year. Right off the bat, the veritable menagerie of colourful fursuiters populating the lobby should have tipped you off that this was going to be a surreal weekend. Many kids staying at the hotel were absolutely enchanted with the fursuiters who were equally delighted at the uninhibited openness of these youngsters. People everywhere wearing tails and ears, T-shirts with their favourite animal motifs and a variety of other accessories that made them uniquely furry.
When the programming and panels started, you were spoilt for choice. Interests of every kind were catered for – artists, crafters, performance artists (fursuiters for the layman!), sub-cultures like bronies & macros/micros, silly gaming events (Werewolf anyone?) and even a lightsaber interest group!
The Dealer’s Den was stacked to the rafters with great merchandise. I bemoaned the woeful state of the Rand many a time as I browsed the tables. I bought some tickets for Faruku’s Raffle (@FarukuCostumes), AND ACTUALLY WON SOMETHING! Definitely a highlight of the con for me!
The Main Stage hosted spectacular shows! With good production values on all media and a more than adequate stage and sound setup, we were well entertained. Although, with an attendance of 1,451 souls, you had to queue early to get a good seat (#queuecon). Queueing was never boring though! We had great sing-alongs while waiting and very often someone was there with a bluetooth speaker and some great tunes.
Excellent music and lively DJ’s made every evening loads of fun when the Night Club started pumping. Tongue-in-cheek classics like “Walk the Dinosaur” had raptors taking center stage, while conga lines and hoe-downs broke out spontaneously at every set.
The charity that ConFuzzled chose to support this year was Prickles Hedgehog Rescue and the generous furs in attendance donated £21,946 to this very worthy cause! That is a LOT of hedgehog chow!
And I suppose this is the point I would like to make. Furries are a wonderful, diverse, creative bunch of people and they have the biggest hearts I have ever experienced.
Hope to see similar great things happening in South Africa one day!