Charity Auction/Raffle Donations Needed For 2019 Fundraising!

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As you may have heard, Anthrocon's selected charity this year is PEARL Parrot Rescue. 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!"

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)

  • Gift cards (Amazon $100 gift card - $305).

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)

  • Contemporary culture ("Zootropolis" movie poster - $300)

If you have an item you believe would be appropriate and would like to donate, please contact charity(at)anthrocon.org!

Helpful links:

* Donations are distributed between the Raffle and Auction based on available space, time, and perceived and past value.

Hotel Opening: Anthrocon 2019 Report

Yesterday, we opened general hotel reservations, and that resulted in a huge rush of members booking hotel rooms. 1,000 rooms were booked in the first 15 minutes! This was completely expected, and we kept track of how things played out on social media, and also took a survey of members who booked hotel rooms to see how things went. In this post, we’re going to share what we learned based on those survey results and Twitter activity.

Hotel Bookings

First, did people who booked a hotel room get the hotel that they wanted?

Did you get the hotel you wanted?

For nearly 70% of you, the answer is yes. This makes us happy, but we would like to see the number higher—ideally 100% of our attendees would get a room in the hotel of their choice. This is something we continue to work on each year by adding new hotels and getting bigger room blocks in existing hotels.

Now, what hotels did people book their rooms in?

Which hotel did you book?

One of these things is not like the other, and that would be the AC Hotel. It was recently constructed and this is their first year as a partner hotel for us. It was the 4th to sell out (at 11 minutes after hotels opened) and accounted for 8.3% of all bookings yesterday. At 0.2 miles from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, we think it will be a fine addition to our list of partner hotels for Anthrocon 2019, and hope that our attendees will enjoy staying there.

Next, where did people get the booking link from? We published the link in a few different places at Noon, so that people could get the link from the place that was most convenient for them. Here’s how that played out:

Where did you get the hotel link?

This is actually very significant, because we did not think that nearly as many of you got the link from the website as you did. But it turns out that the technique of “refresh the hotel page at Noon” was the most common one. The good news here is that the combination of CloudFlare’s front end and SquareSpace’s back end were able to handle the load. We monitor our website with NodePing, and saw 100% uptime yesterday. That’s great news, and we will continue to announce the link on the website first in coming years.

This is what traffic to our website looked like over the past month:

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The spike on January 8th is when we announced our first two Guests. And that big spike on February 1st is of course when we opened hotel reservations. (The exclamation points are SquareSpace’s way of letting us know that traffic was unusually high that day.)

Twitter Activity

Since before last year’s convention, we have been pulling every tweet which mentions “Anthrocon” from Twitter’s API, then performing sentiment analysis on those tweets. This lets us see what people are talking about, and how happy (or unhappy) they are.

And this is what sentiment looked like on Twitter for February 1st:

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There was of course a huge spike of tweets starting at Noon,which then dropped off. But attendee sentiment remained overwhelmingly positive throughout the day, which is good to know. While there is always room for improvement, the positive feelings outweigh the negative ones.

Finally, there is the raw volume of tweets. Pictured below is the volume of tweets mentioning “Anthrocon” over the past week:

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The first hump is from last Monday, when we announced Benjamin Diskin as a Guest. The smaller hump from the middle of the week is when we opened hotel rooms to Supersponsors. And that huge spike on the far right? That’s when we opened general hotel reservations.

So that sums up how hotel openings went this year. Remember, if you have any issues with your reservation, you can email housing@visitpittsburgh.com for assistance.

See you at the con!

— Giza

Anthrocon 2019 Fursuit-Friendly Cruises

Anthrocon 2019 Fursuit-Friendly Cruises

In conjunction with the Gateway Clipper Fleet, Anthrocon is once again offering two Fursuit-Friendly Cruises.

  • An Afternoon cruise will be offered on Thursday, July 4th.

  • A Sunset cruise will be offered on Friday, July 5th.

  • Boarding will take place at the Convention Center Riverfront Plaza.

  • Ticket prices will be $19.99 each and space will be limited.

  • A complimentary bottle of water will be offered to all passengers and long straws will be supplied for use by fursuiters.

  • The boats have both open decks and closed air conditioned decks so the cruises will be sailing rain or shine.

  • You do not need a con badge to board the cruise. However, you will need your cruise tickets for boarding, whether it be in hard copy or electronic format.

Thursday, July 4th Afternoon Fursuit-Friendly Cruise

  • Sailing on the Gateway Clipper Fleet Princess

  • Boarding begins at 1:00 PM EDT Thursday July 4th

  • Ship sails at 1:30 PM EDT

  • Returns to the dock at 2:30 PM EDT

  • Capacity: 200

Friday, July 5th Sunset Fursuit-Friendly Cruise

  • Sailing on the Gateway Clipper Fleet Princess

  • Boarding begins at 7:30 PM EDT Friday July 5th

  • Ship sails at 8:00 PM EDT

  • Sunset at 8:53 PM EDT

  • Returns to the dock at 9:00 PM EDT

  • Capacity: 200

Don't wait, click here to buy your tickets today!

Fursuit-Friendly Cruise Refund Policy

  • The deadline to request a refund for the Fursuit-Friendly cruise is June 16th, 2019 at 11:59pm EDT. Refund requests after this time will not be granted.

  • The cruises will set sail rain or shine. If conditions on the river itself prevent a safe departure and the cruise is cancelled, refunds will be issued for that cruise.

  • Refunds will not be issued if you miss the boarding time for your cruise.

  • Refund requests must made by email to refunds@anthrocon.org.  We need your LEGAL NAME, EMAIL USED FOR PURCHASE, CRUISE THAT TICKETS WERE PURCHASED FOR and NUMBER OF TICKETS PURCHASED to properly identify you for a refund. We cannot accept refund requests made by PM on the website, by Twitter, by Facebook/G+ posts, or other methods.

  • Refunds must be approved/requested by the person who purchased the tickets. 

What To Expect When Hotels Open

NOTE: Hotel opening will be delayed 1 hour, to 12 Noon EST. Treacherous weather in Pittsburgh is making it difficult for Visit Pittsburgh Housing Services employees to get to work, and we are not about to put them at risk trying to hurry into the office. We apologize if this inconveniences anyone, but we need to have to the Visit Pittsburgh staff on hand to help keep things running smoothly for everyone.

On Friday, February 1st, 2019 general hotel reservations will open at 12 Noon Eastern Standard Time (GMT -0500). 

Shortly after 11 AM EST (as shown by the service at https://time.is/), the link to reserve hotel rooms will be posted in the following places, in order:

...in the event that one service is down or otherwise unreachable, we will move onto the next service.   

If you wish to receive alerts and are on Twitter or Telegram, you can configure your client to alert you when a tweet is posted on our Twitter account or a message posted in our Telegram channel.

As room types and hotels sell out, we will post updates to our Twitter feed.

After about an hour or two, once things have calmed down, we will then update our hotel page with details on each hotel's remaining inventory.

TIPS FOR BOOKING A ROOM

  • From PassKey: "We recommend that you only have one browser window open. Using multiple browsers/multiple windows at the same time may cause problems."

  • If you don’t see your first choice for a hotel, you can try shortening your stay, it may only be sold out the first night. You can try adding another night later.

  • From VisitPittsburgh Housing Services:  "If you know the legal 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.  Instead, leave those names blank and then reach out to Visit Pittsburgh as described in the next step...

  • If you need assistance after your reservation is made or need to add/change guests, please email housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com for assistance.  Replies may be delayed for a day or two after reservations open due to volume.

  • While we will try to post updates when a particular hotel sells out, your best bet is the PassKey website itself.  If a hotel is not listed, then it is very likely not available.

NOW THAT I GOT A ROOM, WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?

First, please visit our Anthrocon 2019 Hotel Reservation Experience Survey and let us know your thoughts on the reservation experience.

Next, make travel plans!

Finally, if you need roommates, you could ask on our Facebook Room Share Group or perhaps on #roomshare on our Discord server.

 

(Photo Credit WESA FM)

Announcing Our 2019 Charity: PEARL Parrot Rescue

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Anthrocon is pleased to announce that PEARL Parrot Rescue will be our beneficiary for 2019's charity efforts. The following is a summary from PEARL Parrot Rescue that summarizes their mission and efforts:

The mission of PEARL is to provide quality education to current and potential parrot or bird owners. Unwanted or found parrots are accepted at Parrot Education Adoption Rehoming League, and in turn, are adopted to qualified applicants. We also assist in home-to-home adoptions for non-parrot pet birds. We are a foster-based rescue, located in the Pittsburgh PA area.

PEARL Parrot Rescue 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 PEARL Parrot Rescue can be found at their website, pearlparrots.com.  If you have any questions regarding PEARL Parrot Rescue, they can be reached at info(at)pearlparrots.com.

Anthrocon 2019 Dealers Room : Moving to Curation!

For 2019, the Anthrocon Dealers Room will be selected by curation. I know folks will have quite a bit of questions about the process! We'll break it down into the core questions: What, Why, How, Who, and When.

What does curation mean?

The Dealers who will be approved will be no longer selected by a First-Come First-Serve (FCFS) process. Instead, they will be selected based on various merits of their Dealership. It's also referred to often as a "juried" or "judged" system.

Why are you shifting to this system?

Anthrocon has been pondering a curated system for quite a while, as our Dealers Room sells out faster every year despite price increases. We offer a wonderful environment for our Dealers to make their sales and enjoy their time doing so. Word gets out, and the competition to get a table begins to grow once we surge past capacity.

In 2013, the room sold to completion in 100 days. In 2015, it took 17 days. In 2018, it sold out in a day and a half.

At this pace, if we kept FCFS, we'd be measuring the sellout time in hours, and soon enough minutes. This is where FCFS no longer benefits the prepared, but those who can afford to take the time off from work and are ready to hover at their keyboards. In 2018, we saw the rush to fill out an application result in mistyped information and browser autofill failings. We need our dealers to fill out information thoroughly and with care.

Other large furry conventions such as Midwest FurFest, Biggest Little Fur Con, and Furry Weekend Atlanta have gone to a curated system. We've seen successes and mistakes of their systems, and we hope we'll be able to incorporate the best of them to create ours. We know the system won't make everyone happy, but we're going to do our best to make a fair system that makes an excellent Dealers Room for all our Members.

We are likely to make mistakes along the way, and we'll try to fix any of them for 2020 and future years. Feedback is always welcomed.

How will the curation be performed?

We're going to consider each Dealership based on a variety of factors, which include:

On-Topic: How much of a dealer's wares relate to furry fandom, or other interests of typical Anthrocon Members?

Quality:, Is the Dealership selling quality goods that will interest our Members and make for good sales? This may be based on a Dealers website, prior years in the Dealers Room, and/or additional information.

Variety: Are there many or few Dealers selling product of this type? Are you filling a niche other Dealers will not be?

Prior Status: Have you been a Guest of Honor or Charitable Organization with Anthrocon before?

After thorough consideration, we'll select a first round of Dealers for approval and payment, and place all others on the waitlist. Filling from the waitlist will be done similarly as to prior years, individually as openings occur.

Who will be doing the curating?

The Dealers Room staff, currently consisting of eight individuals including the director, will be handling the majority of the selection process. Other Anthrocon staff may be involved in minor fashion.

When are the important dates?

October 6th is the planned opening date for applications.

October 31st at 11:59pm, EST, will be the final date for applications.

Our plan is to make selections in November, and begin contacting approved Dealers in late November or early December. Quite a few of our dealers may be attending Midwest Furfest, and we know they may not be able to communicate or pay during that time; we will schedule with that in mind.

--Chiaroscuro

Anthrocon 2018 Wrapup!

Photo Credit

There's no question about it, Anthrocon 2018 was an amazing success in downtown Pittsburgh this year!  Eight Thousand Four Hundred and Seven of you made Pittsburgh a little brighter this weekend.  We raised over $42,051 for our charity, South Hills Pet Rescue.  1,980 of you participated in the Annual Fursuit Parade and got to showcase Anthrocon to all to Pittsburgh!  For one weekend, we made Pittsburgh just a little brighter and friendlier.  Crime dropped. We played Asteroids. Cops loved us.  

And then there was the Tiki Bar.

Now that we're back home and unpacking, we have gone through the Lost and Found items that have been turned in. Did you lose something? Please fill out this form, and we'll follow up with you.

Looking for the Fursuit Group Photo? Here it is. A high-resolution 14,920 x 4,077 pixel version of that photo can be found over here.

Want to see some news coverage?  Here's what we've found so far:

Many thanks to our attendees, our staff, and the city of Pittsburgh for being such a hospitable host city!

Do you have more thoughts or feedback to share with us?  Please take our post-con survey!

Anthrocon 2019 will be held July 4-July 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, PA, USA and the theme will be "Surf Pacific".  Pack your wetsuits and surfboards!  We’ll see you then.

 

Need Help? Last Stop Before Anthrocon!

In just a few days, many of our staff will be on their way to Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, PA!  That means we won't be able to answer emails like we could during any other time of the year.  Instead, we've put together some resources you might find helpful while on the road or at the convention

Need help during the convention? 

Here is how to get in touch with us:

  • Visit Operations in Room 309 in the DLCC
  • Visit Security in the Crawford Room in the Westin or Room 312 in the DLCC.
  • Call the Anthrocon Operations Hotline at 832-FUR-OPS-1 (832-387-6771) Hours are:
    • Thursday: 10 AM to 10 PM
    • Friday: 9 AM to 10 PM
    • Saturday: 9 AM to 10 PM
    • Sunday: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • DM @Anthrocon or @AnthroconHelp on Twitter

After the convention, please consider sharing your photos on either:

Finally, we like to hear how we're doing, what you liked, and how we can do better.  Please consider taking our post-con survey after the convention.

Journalists/Members of the Press

Looking for photos?  Check out our Fursuit Group Photo.  Please credit the photo to "Andy Oxenreider of Dragonscales".  We also have thousands of photos from past Anthrocon conventions in our Flickr group.  Please credit those photos to their individual authors.

See you in Pittsburgh,

The Anthrocon Staff

 

 

 

 

Anthrocon 2018 Fursuit Badges, Photo, and Guidelines

Are you interested in a Fursuit Badge, being in the Group Photo, the Annual Anthrocon Fursuit Parade, or in a Meet-And-Greet after the convention?

Please find below a copy of the fursuit parade map, as well as a copy of the guidelines for each event.

Fursuit Badges will be handed out in the following locations/times:

  • In front of DLCC 309:
    • Friday: 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, 4:30 PM to 6 PM
    • Saturday: 10 AM to Noon, 3:30 to 5 PM
    • Sunday: Noon to 5 PM
  • Overflow location: Con Store: During Normal Open Hours (While supplies last)
  • Overflow location: Programming (Crawford West in Westin): When the office door is open (While supplies last)