It’s mid April, and that means it was time to head to FWA (Furry Weekend Atlanta)! The theme for this year was “Shangri-La: The Furgotten Orient”. This was my first trip to this con, and I was lucky enough to share it with some good friends. This was also this cons first year at this hotel, so nobody knew what to expect. This was the same con that hosted DragonCon previously, so there were no worries on the quality of the hotel. The trip down was fun. Listening to music, the scenery and the conversation made the trip go pretty quickly, that is until we made it into Atlanta.
This must have been the worse driving experience of my entire life. The one way streets and sitting in traffic for more than a few red lights while waiting for a turn made me stress out to the point I was going to lose it…and you don’t want to see a fox lose it. Not to mention the vagueness on where we were suppose to go in the first place. I turned into 3 different entrances to the hotel before finding the correct one, and the missed turns requiring us to be stuck in traffic around multiple blocks multiple times. The hotel parking ended up being full after we had finally found it and waited in line. We had to pull around a couple more times to find an adjacent garage.
The elevators in the garage were bizarre too. Instead of the floors being labeled with numbers, they were listed with out of order letters. So instead of G being the ground floor, it was the 4th floor. Go Figure. By the time we found the hotel (Which, by the way, looked like the innards of a giant whale.) and were safely checked into our room, I was so stressed out to the point of crying I was out for the rest of the night, but I tried to have fun regardless.
After a couple hours I was feeling a little better and that’s when the reports started coming in. Someone had their van stolen while they were unloading. Someone else had their entire trailer stolen with most of their suits and dealers den merchandise. What kind of place was this? My thoughts turned towards my truck in the adjacent parking lot. Were we going to have a ride home at the end of all this? Was my vehicle on chopping blocks at this very moment? I convinced myself that it was probably fine as trying to sneak out of a garage meant they would need to pay the parking fee. Not something I would expect a thief to do, although I was still concerned about broken windows.
There were a couple other conventions being hosted at this hotel over the weekend, which made for some interesting situations. Most other convention goers were very nice, they posed for photos with us and I heard on more than one occasion little old ladies saying “Oh, look at all the fun animals, it’s like a zoo!” There was a business convention there at the time too that unfortunately wasn’t as good a sport. Statements like, “Well, I guess they don’t want our business here, they invite the weirdos in.” and a lot of up turned noses showed their lack of character quite loudly, but that didn’t seem to put a damper on anyone’s fun.
Enough with the bad, lets look at the good! I was hoping to have my own fursuit done in time, but that just didn’t happen this year. I still had a great time seeing all the other great suits and performers! Some I’ve seen before and were old favorites, and some were new to me! It still amazes me how something so simple can bring a smile to so many faces.
The dealer’s den and artist alley were great! Full of very talented artists and craftsmen. There was so much to see! I ended up getting a couple things, most notably a derp sketch from Rich Fox and my badge I had commissioned previously, but picked up from the Outlandish Studios table in appropriate Eastern theme!
Food Food Food! The hotel was adjacent to a mall. Not a great mall, but a mall nonetheless, complete with it’s own Caribou Coffee! This, combined with the Starbucks in the lobby of the main hotel got me thinking, “Well now, this is my kind of place!” I probably don’t have to mention I gave them my patronage daily. The furries all but took it over including their chalk board. Saturday we went to eat a couple blocks down at the Hard Rock Cafe! I’ve only been to one other in my life and that was down in Orlando Florida a LONG time ago, so this was fun. The wait was long, but we got to see the traffic go by while we waited outside. Some of it was the same traffic, which got me thinking that Atlanta’s traffic wasn’t that bad, it was just the same people driving in circles! It was a great experience though. Great food, friends, fun, and magnetic silverware! Go Goldfox Go!
The best event I got to see was the improv comedy show. These people were hilarious! If there is one thing I love more than anything else, is that I love to laugh! The folks putting on the show were from local Atlanta comedy troupe called “Dad’s Garage” (more information at dadsgarage.com). A local ‘Triangle Fur’ got pulled up on stage for one of the skits as well, knowing them made it just that much more fun! Unfortunately I didn’t get to see many other panels or events, there were just so many people to see and things to do, by the time we were able to run to an event, the line was so long it was impractical to wait for it.
I got to meet a lot of the people I got to know over Twitter over the past year or so, and some I knew from other outlets. I didn’t get to meet everyone I wanted to, and that was disappointing. I feel like I let them down somehow, but there was only so much time and so many friends, but there is always next time, and always special trips.
Overall FWA was fun, and although it had a rough start, I had a blast. Would I go again? YOU BET! Although, next time someone else gets to drive!