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Anthrocon Returns to Pittsburgh With Economic and Tourism Boosts

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One of the world’s most iconic furry conventions returns to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, bringing international tourists and a significant boost to the local economy.

$17.4M

expected from Anthrocon 2024’s direct visitor spending

13,644

attendees at Anthrocon 2023

11,000+

hotel room nights sold to Anthrocon guests for 2024 (and growing!)

3rd

largest furry convention in the world

A singular event featuring acrobatics, marketing panels, stand-up comedy and a big band jazz concert is set to make the fur fly and the registers ring – all in celebration of fursuits.

Every year, thousands of furries from around the world travel to downtown Pittsburgh for Anthrocon, one the world’s largest furry conventions. From July 4-7 at the David Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC), this year’s Anthrocon organizers expect over 15,000 attendees to hail from seven continents and contribute $17.4 million in direct visitor spending.

“Each year, we have the privilege of working with the event organizers to establish strong community connections and partnerships that leave a significant and lasting impact on our city,” said Andy Ortale, chief sales officer at VisitPITTSBURGH, in a press release. “This year, there are several events on the docket that stand to make Anthrocon 2024 bigger and better.”

Anthrocon worked with its initial hotel partners to block over 11,000 hotel room nights at a discounted rate, which sold out in a mere 12 minutes. These partners ranged from luxury hotels like the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel to standard lodging like Pittsburgh Marriott City Center. After the block sold out, Anthrocon added more hotels to its partner list, resulting in Anthrocon attendees residing in 22 hotels in the area. Organizers hired a local transportation company to provide six shuttles transporting people from their hotels to the DLCC.

Between lodging, transportation, food and entertainment, Anthrocon is well known in Pittsburgh for its economic contributions to the downtown neighborhood. Attendees can enjoy the convention and partake in community events; meanwhile, businesses are able to gain new customers.

“Restaurants in the area are aware of the value that our connection brings them,” said John Cole, public relations director for Anthrocon. “There are certain restaurants that have a reputation for really reaching out to convention attendees, and people flock there because their friends say, ‘You’ve got to try this place.’”

These restaurants will see business mainly on Saturday, July 6,during Anthrocon’s Parade and Block Party. Free and family friendly, the event provides a chance for furries and Pittsburghers to interact. In addition to 10hours of music, local food trucks, and close-ups offursuits, this event is an all-day opportunity for locals to spend their Saturday downtown.

“The parade allows the city to be able to see the artistry behind these costumes that people are wearing,” said Cole. “The costumes can range anywhere in price from $3,000 to well in excess of $20,000per costume. They’re quite pricey and we’re happy to show them off.”

The latest addition to the event is a partnership with VisitPITTSBURGH’s Show Your Badge program, a pass allowing convention attendees to receive discounts from partnering restaurants and attractions. Among these Anthrocon discounts include a special Anthrocon menu at Pizza Parma, and $5 tickets to an exclusive screening of “The Secret of N.I.M.H.” at the Harris Theater on Liberty Avenue.

Cole’s vision for the Harris Theater partnership is for visitors to take children to the Parade and Block Party, then walk the quick distance to see a classic animated movie. Not only that, but fursuiters have a chance to relax from the summer heat in air conditioning while supporting an independent movie theater.

Since its relocation to Pittsburgh in 2006, Anthrocon has contributed an estimated $71 million to the local economy, and this year is expected to grow that number significantly.

“Anthrocon has become a bit of a Pittsburgh institution,” said Cole. “We try and show local businesses that the more there is for our people to do, the more they will do, and businesses can benefit from that.”

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