Furries from far and wide came clad in their best fursuits for the Biggest Little Fur Con from Oct. 21 to 24 at the Grand Sierra Resort. Occupying almost 200,000 square feet with over 4,000 attendees, the convention has been the largest furry convention in the west for three years running.

All the furry convention attendees gather around the room in their designated area.

Noah Scott/Nevada Sagebrush
The Biggest Little Fur Con of 2021 occurs on Oct. 22.

Run by the Reno Area Anthropomorphic Arts and Recreation, this is the convention’s sixth year in operation, with last year’s convention being postponed due to COVID-19.

“So think of Robin Hood, think of Zootopia, you have anthropomorphic animals in a nutshell,” said Sam, the media relations lead at BLFC, on what a furry is. Sam is also known by his fursona, Blizzard Fox.  “…[T]hen people choose to take that and give themselves their own ideal version of that kind of anthropomorphized animal, and present themselves that way.”

With tickets ranging from $70 to $290, the convention generates over $300,000 in revenue and over $10,000 in sales tax for the city of Reno per day. However, most of the proceeds made through convention costs go towards their chosen charity, Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary.

“We are really proud to be able to partner with the greater Washoe County Reno area as part of this and to be a large economic driver,” said Blizzard Fox. “… we pull in double or triple the average concert for the GSR for four continuous days.”

The convention consisted of many activities for attendees to participate in, such as panels, the Dealer’s Den, tabletop gaming, gaming tournaments, an escape room and other events.

The Dealer’s Den is where attendees could find all of their furry merchandise, ranging from art to books to furry costume pieces like tails and ears. Many dealers make their main source of income from these conventions and come to BLFC frequently.

With the copious amount of space, the con is able to hold almost 100 different types of panels and events. The most popular event is the annual BLFC Dance Competition.

“It’s one of my favorite cons … it’s kind of a party con too, and it is very well organized,” said Maggie Granatir, a dealer at BLFC and owner of Dutch Dog Studios. “For Dutch Dog Studios, I really started to focus on making dog merchandise. I kind of found out that there’s not a lot of fun dog merchandise on the market.”

The furry community focuses highly on art—even down to the fursuits, which is what initially attracts people to them.

“The fursuits are art. You buy them from an artist to make it from scratch,” said Sam Mitchell, a University of Nevada, Reno student and furry. “There are also individual artists that will make commissions for people on what they want their character to be doing or what they want them and someone else’s character to be doing.”

A UNR student dresses as a blue coyote and poses for the camera in the ballroom of the Furry Convention.

Noah Scott/Nevada Sagebrush
Rush Coyote poses for the camera at the 2021 Furry Convention.

Before COVID-19, Mitchell was an avid attendee of these conventions, travelling as far as New York for one. He said he has created strong bonds with furries alike because they all share a common interest.

Mitchell and Blizzard Fox echoed the sentiment of the furry community having a large population of LGBTQ+ individuals. Therefore, the goal of the convention was to be a safe space for many people to freely be themselves.

“…[W]e get people here who don’t, and would never want anybody at home to know that, one, they attended a convention, or two what their sexual orientation or gender identity are,” said Blizzard Fox. “… [I]t would cause them a lot of issues. But here, they can do that. And it’s not a question.”

Additionally, Blizzard Fox said the furry community has helped a lot of people find the gender identity that is most comfortable for them.

Most attendees wore their pronouns on their badges as well.

The convention is very focused on making this event accessible for everyone regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic status, according to Blizzard Fox.

“They’re kids here with their parents. They’re walking around the dealer’s den. They’re buying things. They’re having a good time,” said Blizzard Fox. “We do gatekeep any adult aspects of it that they exist, we’re not going to deny that.”

All 18-plus events happened after hours with required ID checking.

In addition, based on ticket status, certain guests get free access to the pool, free golf rides and bowling, as well as half off all food served within the casino.

The 2022 BLFC will be held at its customary time of spring, sometime around May.

Emerson Drewes can be reached via email edrewes@unr.edu or via Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.