PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A 6-foot fox in a hotel lobby. A tail on a luggage cart. The "Furries" are back.
Board chairman Dr. Samuel Conway says "Anthrocon" has 6,000 people of the furry persuasion. But what's it all about?
"Why do people buy tickets to the Super Bowl?" he asks. "Why do people go fishing? It's what they're into. It relaxes them. It gets them through the day."
They're doctors, teachers and truck drivers, from 25 countries. The "Fox" is a weapons manufacturer.
"I think if my co-workers knew this is what I do, they'd take out a hunting permit on me," he says.
The tourism group "Visit Pittsburgh" has hosted the Anthrocon convention for nine consecutive years.
"This has brought a total of $41 million to our economy," says President and CEO Craig Davis. "Just this year alone: $7 million."
Part of the tradition is lunchtime at Fernando's.
"We like it. It's so much fun. I wish they could come every year," says co-owner Baris Budak.
"We take a furry picture with them," his brother Ali says.
Furries like the "Tribal Tiger" like to make folks smile.
"There's nothing that can compare to that emotion that you get inside, when you make someone feel that good," he says.
Speaking of feeling good, Anthrocon conventions have raised 140 thousand dollars for Pittsburgh charities. This year's choice: the National Aviary.
For more information on the Furries, visit http://www.anthrocon.org.
for more features.