anthropomorphics, which are humanlike animal characters such as have fascinated mankind since the dawn of human imagination. We are a collection of artists, animators, writers, costumers, puppeteers, and just everyday fans who enjoy cartoon animals and their kin. Membership is open to any and all who like to imagine what it would be like if animals could walk and talk as we do -- and no, you do not have to wear a costume to attend!
There are several changes coming to registration this year so I am writing this post to let people know what to expect. In this post I will be focusing on the on-site registration and changes coming to the badges.
Last year, as several people are aware, we had issues at on-site registration on Thursday. The printers we use to print out badges had issues and caused several hours of downtime. The problems have made it clear to me that the way we are currently printing badges is not scaling well as we continue to grow. Having all of our on-site check-in stations printing to 2 or 3 printers is just not sufficient any more. And if one printer problem can bring down reg it becomes apparent that changes need to be made.
First off, the badge stock will not be changing. We will still be using the plastic badges like we have been. However, for on-site registrations we will no longer be printing directly on the badge. Instead of using the 2 to3 printers that every check-in station was printing to, each station will now have its own label printer. As a person is checked in, a label will print out right at the station and be affixed to the badge which then can be handed out immediately.
There are a few benefits to do things this way:
1. With the labels printing out right at the stations we will be able to process people through registration faster, which will mean shorter wait times in line.
We've got some good news regarding The Zoo at Anthrocon 2017!
The Zoo has officially been moved from Hall D on the Ground Floor of the DLCC to DLCC Rooms 401 through 405 on the 4th floor:
The airwalls between those rooms will be broken down, allowing for a giant continuous space. We will have the space outside of those rooms available for hanging out and socializing. And, as shown in the pictures above, there will be floor to ceiling windows allowing natural light.
We hope you are as excited about the new location as we are!
Due to the Cloudbleed security vulnerability, we have logged all users out of the website.
When you log back in, we ask that you change your password--that can be done here.
While we do not have reason to believe that any specific accounts have been compromised at this time, we do want to minimize the chances of that becoming an issue.
As you may have heard, Anthrocon's selected charity this year is Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary, whose mission is to rescue neglected farm animals and provide them safe haven. While cash donations made at the convention are great, the plurality of funds are raised via donations of artwork and merchandise to our Charity Auction and Raffle. We're looking for popular items and unique craftwork that will make people say, "I want that!"
While we must distribute items between the Raffle and Auction based on available space, time, and perceived and past value, here are some examples of donations that went big in past years...
Great examples from prior raffles: Crafts based on hot trends ("Toothless" Build-A-Bear plus - $381); Popular media (Sherlock Hound DVD set - $147); Art bought at prior convention art shows ("Wrath" art by Terrie Smith - $83); Giant, brand new plush of popular animals or characters (Border collie plush - $129); Merchandise based on popular fiction (Dr. Who's sonic screwdriver - $158)
Great examples from prior auctions: Fursuit costumes and commissions (Griffon fursuit head - $460); Rare convention memorabilia (Full set of all AC t-shirts since 1997 - $200); Professional sculpture (Softsculp poseable gryphon - $350); Unique opportunities (A speaking part in audio version of Diane Duane's "The Last Meow" - $500); Dorsai fursuit tags (Tag #1000 - $1600)
If you have an item you believe would be appropriate and would like to donate, please contact charity(at)anthrocon.org!
Charity Auction/Raffle FAQ - anthrocon.org/charity
Charity Auction/Raffle Rules - anthrocon.org/rules-charity
Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary - hopehavenfarm.org
Without any further ado, I'm pleased to announce that signups for Anthrocon's 2017 Artists' Alley Lottery are NOW OPEN! Thank you so much for being patient with us, and we're sorry for the delay today getting that form opened.
Apparently, some of our automatic form logic decided it wanted to take the day off, and enjoy the frozen landscape that is Pennsylvania in the winter, so we didn't quite make our initial 8:00 AM goal for Artists' Alley Lottery Signups, but I'm pleased to reiterate that the signups are open now, and don't worry, you'll have ample time to sign up for a chance to get a seat in Alley during the next few months!
Artists, if you haven't already, please take a few minutes to read through our Rules, Terms, and Conditions of participating in Artists' Alley, prior to signing up.
If you've already read these rules, please feel free to head over to the lottery form, to sign up for the lottery.
If you need some more information on how the lottery works, take a look at this page.
Despite rumors to the contrary, we have plenty of availability at all of Anthrocon's hotel's for 2017. None of them are sold out. We were obliged to limit the number of rooms that were available for supersponsors ahead of time (which we hope our generous supersponsors understand was necessary) to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to get his or her first-choice hotel.
Please remember, though, that even with our efforts to keep a large number of rooms available, those rooms are going to go very fast. The Courtyard is expected to be sold out almost immediately. The Westin will be sold out almost as fast, and we suspect that the new Drury will likewise sell out quickly because it is a tiny hotel to begin with.
So please remember, when we open on Thursday, February 2, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time, there will be several thousand people clicking away all at once. If you do not see a hotel listed, it means that it is sold out for at least one of the days that you have selected. If that happens, try shortening your stay -- it could be that only the first or last nights are sold out. It is often possible (though not always guranteed) that we can add another room to the block if someone wants to stretch a reservation a day before or after. If the hotel still does not appear, it means that our available room block has been filled.
The reservation system is operated by the Housing Office of VisitPittsburgh. Anthrocon has absolutely no control over it and we cannot assist with any technical issues. Should something go awry, the hard-working staff members there are going to be ready to help. Their email address and phone number will be available on the main page.
Hi everyone, this is your friendly webmaster leopard here!
As we indicated in our previous post, general hotel reservations will open at 11 AM EST on the morning of Thursday, February 2nd. That said, I am sure there are a lot of questions about what will happen when hotels open on Thursday morning, and I'd like to cover some of them in this post.
Here's what to expect that morning, and when to expect it:
10 AM EST, Thursday
Around this time, I will place the website into read-only mode. Any attempt to load a page from our website will instead show our hotel countdown page. The purpose behind the countdown page is to keep the website from falling over under the insane crush of traffic which is expected to hit at 11 AM. This level of traffic is greater than even during the convention itself!
11 AM EST, Thursday
The hotel page goes live.
This is an automated process handled by PHP code on the server side and requires no manual intervention on my part. This is important because with thousands of inbound connections, my SSH connection may not be very responsive. In theory, this means everyone should be able to visit the website with no issues. In practice, a huge spike in traffic may make the site unresponsive for a few seconds.
That is why, instead of posting the hotel reservation link on only this website, we are also posting it on our major social media channels also at 11 AM EST on Thursday:
I would strongly recommend that you bookmark these links now, and checking them on Thursday morning as an alternative to visiting this website.
11:05 AM EST, Thursday
If you plan on staying in The Westin, Doubles sell out within a few minutes, and all other rooms sell out of the Westin within the first 30 minutes of hotels opening.
If you plan on staying in The Courtyard, there are very few rooms available there, and they are in high demand; thus, they can be expected to sell out almost immediately. We must apologize in advance for this, but there is very little that we can do about it. The Courtyard has been extremely gracious with us and has allocated as many rooms to us as they are allowed to under their corporate policies. Having learned from previous years, we limited the number of rooms available to Supersponsors for their advance reservations, so we can assure you that there are as many rooms available at the Courtyard as is practical for us.
In short, if you do not see your preferred hotel listed, it means that it has probably sold out. The first thing you should do is try shortening your stay. Sometimes the hotels will sell out on the earlier or later days, but still have plenty of rooms available for the peak nights. If you shorten your stay to just Friday and Saturday, the hotel may re-appear. Book your room, then, and contact housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com to see about extending your stay afterward.
If you experience any issues or have questions or concerns about your reservation, please contact VisitPittsburgh Housing Services at housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com. Do not contact Anthrocon! This system is operated entirely by a third party and we have no access to it, and we will be able unable to help.
11:30 AM EST, Thursday
Things usually calm down within 30 minutes. When that happens, I'll restore the regular version of the website and things will be back to normal here.
Now that I got a room, what do I do with it?
First, please visit our Anthrocon 2017 Hotel Reservation Experience Survey and let us know your thoughts on the reservation experience.
Next, make travel plans!
Finally, if you need roommates, we have room share forums for that.
You got questions? We got answers!
If this post didn't cover any outstanding questions, please let us know in the comments below or via email!
Best of luck to everyone on Thursday, I hope you get the hotel room you want!
Our hotel room-rates for 2017 have been posted; they are linked from our hotel page, which has very important information that we think you should read.
Three important additional notes:
1) General reservations will begin on FEBRUARY 2, 2017, at 11:00 AM EST. Supersponsors will be sent a link for hotel reservations on January 30; please note, however, that with the growing number of supersponsors, we must out of necessity limit the number of available rooms at our smaller and more in-demand hotels so that there are still plenty available for everyone on the 2nd. And to that end...
2) We have added the Drury Plaza and the Homewood Suites. Both of these are comparatively small hotels, like the Courtyard. We expect these to sell out very quickly. There is nothing we can do to remedy that, save to continue to add hotel rooms to our inventory each year.
3) From VisitPittsburgh Housing Services: "If you know the true names of your roommates when you make your booking, of course you can enter them, and if you have your roommates’ email addresses, enter them in the email field and your roommates will receive a copy of the reservation acknowledgment. If you do not know the true names of your roommates at the time of booking, please do not add fake names or generic names such as Guest #2, Guest #3. You will have the opportunity to add guest names at a later date. It is fine to leave a leave the those fields empty. You may also email housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com with roommate names. They will edit your reservation and send you notification once your roommates have been added to your reservation." This request comes in because in previous years, people have still had "John Doe" and "Guest #1" listed on their reservations even on the day they arrived.
Anthrocon is pleased to announce that Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary will be our beneficiary for 2017's charity efforts. The following is a summary provided by Hope Haven's representative that summarizes their mission and efforts:
Hope Haven is a beautiful non-profit farm animal sanctuary nestled in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Our mission is to rescue neglected farm animals and provide them safe haven. Our residents range from pigs, goats, sheep, emu, llama, alpaca, and farm birds of every variety. These animals have been surrendered at animal shelters, confiscated by local humane agents, or saved from factory farms. They now live out their lives with comfortable housing, nutritious food, and companionship from others of their own kind. They also receive endless love and affection from the human components of the sanctuary, as well as from guests and supporters.
Hope Haven also prides itself on being a resource to raise public awareness of the plight of animals raised for food. We joyfully promote a cruelty-free, plant-based lifestyle. Rather than focusing on the horrors and suffering inherent in factory farming we want to showcase the individuality and personality of farm animals. Our hope is that when people realize these animals are sentient creatures deserving of compassion they will make up their own minds to respect life and adopt a cruelty-free lifestyle.
The farm is open from May through October. We offer monthly farm tours and frequent volunteer work days. We also hold several festivals at the farm that are open to the public. So please make it a point to come out to Hope Haven and meet our residents! How often do you get to hug a turkey, feed an alpaca, pet an emu, or nuzzle a goat? Visiting with our animals and hearing their stories is guaranteed to brighten your day and even change your thinking about how all of us (humans and animals) can coexist happily together.
Hope Haven will be at the Charity Auction and will have a table in the Dealers' Room where you can meet them and peruse information about their organization.
More information about Hope Haven can be found at their website, hopehavenfarm.org. If you have any questions regarding Hope Haven, they can be reached through their representative to us, veterinarian Dr. Karen Phillips, via karen[at]hopehavenfarm.org.