Stego Getting the Coals Hot
Stego at Work
Sometimes when you find something that is so much fun…. you just gotta bring a friend (or two… or three…). The sheer experience of organizing something this big for this many people is astounding. With a few breaths taken, we have our post-FurBQ report..
Everything is due for a change, and our event is no exception. Our day began with both cars packed and loaded. Turned out, one more friend needed the ride this year. Undeterred by the early schedule, Kat reached their house around 4:45. She actually ended up getting there before Stego. She wasn’t even the first to arrive. Lo and behold, there were at least 3 other people in the parking lot near our reserved area. Within minutes someone had donned a fursuit. You guys are arriving earlier and earlier!
Signs went up where possible, with a few additions from the year before. Easels were placed at the front and back of the site, displaying helpful guidelines for our event, our donor list, and of course we added the orange “Tripping Hazard” signs for safety. We also placed some more humorous signs on our trees to encourage mindfulness. Contributions of food, sodas and ice were trickling in. By the time Stego arrived we had a small pile going. Leo had also come to set up his own grilling area. He even made pancakes!
When fellow fur Ubervoop arrived, we were in for a surprise. Presented to us was a colorful banner for SoCal Furs, Kat and Stego’s community website that posts local furry events. Featured was a stegosaurus cooking, along with Tamerlaine and Noah in different poses. We were so surprised at how snazzy it looked and we think other people enjoyed it as well.
The day began to fly as Stego began the first rounds of burgers. Kat spent tim between the picnic area, the side field areas and the parking lot. Chance and the San Diego furs arrived just before the lot really got full, a big brand new changing tent in tow. Once the two tents were up, it wasnt long before people were using that to change, no more need to do it in the parking lot. Kat was happy to have a place to direct suiters to, and the tent was in full swing practically all day.
The weather was quite the happy medium on FurBQ day, which meant alot of people were suiting up. With the given time of 3pm for the group shot, early afternoon started to be where we could really see our peak population (around 185 people on site at once), with many all suited up and being herded by a happy Chance Dragon.
It seemed like in a blink, afternoon turned to evening. We began doing our end-times trash detail around 5:45pm. Trashclaws came out and I brought out the rake to get all the small fiddly bits. As we neared our 9pm “clear out” deadline, we did find a few odds and ends left that didn’t look like stuff meant to be trashed. Yup, another “lost and found” gallery for this year. Check it out if you have something missing. We got quite the mix.
All day, Stego and Kat ran into friends — both those returning for another FurBQ and for people we had not seen in forever. Seems our event is about getting that mix of old and new connections, with about 225 total seen throughout the day. As the event grows, we consider things we can do to improve.
With those tidbits out of the way, here are some photos showing the fun that can be had at SoCal Furs’ annual FurBQ.
There are some awesome photographers at our event, so if you want more furry photos, check out:
With all the camera fiends in attendance, video was inevitable. Enjoy the highlights, filmed by members of our community.
Labor Day has given way for rainstorms (yes… in August) and it has drawn us inside. While we have been cooped up, we have begun the annual “crunch time for FurBQ”. Stego and Kat have been looking over supplies, making lists and otherwise keeping track of all that awaits us in 3 weeks. We got the reservation, and a budget for meat (and starter items for our early crowd), and we are almost ready to go
… however, we have decided to do some rearranging of our space within our rented group area (Group Area 3). Please look at our updated calendar entry, which gives all information about our event and includes info about our FREE grilling areas for those that like to get proactive about cooking good food.
Regarding other events, we have been checking in with organizers and our September and October months have gotten some returning events, as well as some modifications. Please check out the calendar to see all the updates.
If you havent yet connected, check out the SoCal Furs Network (as well as in our sidebar) to find the network that works best for you. One addition is that we now have a Facebook page. In working within our community, and with some patience for Facebook itself, we can now get the information flowing there. Its only a simple page right now, but we are using it as a way to gather Facebook event postings from things that appear on our calendar.
March has come and we find ourselves with this long awaited piece of news concerning our annual event. While all that wonky webpage stuff was happening, Stego and Kat have been checking into whats possible for FurBQ 2017. As many know, FurBQ traditionally happened in the spring months. However, with the added necessity of using a reserved group area (due to our crowd size) and the changing of some local events, its become necessary to place our annual FurBQ event in the fall.
Last year’s date of September 17th really worked well for us, with that week being just when the weather starts to get comfortable (especially for the fursuiters). However, from talking with the park rangers and Reservations, we learned that October is entirely blocked out due to the parking situation created from Irvine Regional Park’s annual pumpkin patch event.
So, with all that is possible, we have put in our reservation request. The $300 fee has been paid,and we are ready to roll. I can say that with advanced planning (from choosing to do this in the fall only), we will have more time to work on the event and make improvements. Feel free to view the event posting on our calendar and make your plans now.
Well! That sure was fun! Over a week later, we can now say we have recovered from the SoCal Furs End of Summer FurBQ. In fact, we have been using the week to reflect and take it all in….
As usual, FurBQ began at 3:30 when our alarm sounded, we hopped out of bed, and got into our pre-packed car. Making the journey from San Bernardino, we ran into a bit of off-peak construction before making our way to the 91. In addition to traffic, we looked to the skies (and weather reports), and found that any lingering concerns about rain was eased. We arrived at the park just minutes before it opened, watching the sky light up as the sun rose to meet us.
While Stego went to add signs along the park road, Kat and friend Howlie parked at the site and began uploading. Within a short time, others showed up. Help was offered, which we took, and soon we formed areas for food as different things were brought. Signs got placed along the perimeter. One of the early arrivals had a whole setup for offering a morning coffee hour, with extra tables and carafes greeting a surprised Kat.
By about 10:45, there was a steady stream of furs trickling in. Our group had started to use parking in lots a site or two over so we needed help in bringing people’s food up while the other party parked at a lot farther away. Throughout the day, the crowd grew and by lunch hour, it seemed that we had a more dramatic increase of people coming. We even had some entertainment by the father of one of our attendees, as he had brought his guitar.
A group of furs from San Diego came up and set up a changing tent, encouraging us to grab some Gatorade and water to place in the tent so people could hydrate when they wanted to have a break from fursuiting. While our food supply was constantly added to by new arrivals, it was around 4:30 when we started to actually see a dent in key items like water, soda and Gatorade. Just like ice, these are the items that we can never have too much of.
From those brand new to fandom to the people who have attended over many years, we can say this is an event where you can be surrounded by furries at any given time. At the same time, the nearby areas (not part of Group Area 3) gave people enough space if they felt overwhelmed from the crowd. Even some of our long time friends (that we had not seen in forever) ended up stopping by. We counted about 190-215 furs attending at the peak time of our event. Stego and Kat considered that the money for the reservation was well spent because, while there were a lot of us, it was easy for our crowd to move around the space and not feel cramped.
Even the Rangers would make a point to stop by our area, sometimes to check on us and other times to take in the colorful costumes. Sometime in the afternoon, our Ranger contact came by and asked if we could help get pictures of the fursuiters with some of the other park staff. Since the other staff could not leave the gate area of the park, the Ranger had an empty truck. Yalta Wolf took the passenger seat and then 4 more furs were placed in the back. We would love to see how the pictures turned out.
Once 6:30 came, it was time to close up shop. We started cooling the grill down and others helped consolidate food and other items into piles so we could sort further and get things put away. When you have furries frolicking in costume, its expected that we expand out of our space a bit so we even tackled areas outside of the Group Area #3 boundaries. I would say we had a decent handful of helpers and, after 2 hours, we could safely say that we got the picnic grounds back to the way they were (but also hopefully even cleaner and trash-free).
First off, we would like to thank our donors that helped with the initial reservation costs. Those donors are as follows: DoodlestheGreat, YashaTaur, Ultimus (SixLeafClover), Sandoz The Megatherium and Joran Zero
Thanks to the countless furs that contributed food or supplies which kept the food flowing. We are also grateful for people who brought and shared items that gave people fun activities as the day went on.
From our first year in this new spot, Stego and I have an idea of things we can do to improve the event for both the guests and for FurBQ staff. We had many people helping with the event as it went on but we can see areas where we might want to get more bodies to help. The place had emptied out by 7:00, leaving around 8-15 of us to clean up the park. With the increase in park space, we had more ground to cover.
We also noticed that the free grill areas did not get used. While we didn’t expect they would get much use (due to this being our first time in this reserved area), next year’s event will likely stress the free grilling areas a lot more so that furries who like a bit more independence know that these areas are available.
With every helpful group of people, our event seems to get better and better. So, if you get a random idea or suggestion for our event feel free to contact us, as we tend to get our planning started early enough before the event.
Yup. Over the years, we find that more than a few items end up left on the grounds. Here is what
currently resides remains for SoCal FurBQ 2016 Lost and Found inventory (Updated 2-22-2017)
Feel free to go directly to our Lost and Found gallery to view these items.
Sadly for the first time in 18 years, The Official SoCalFurs FurBQ was Rained Out. We had gotten to our designated Group area right at 6AM, Right where the major downpour had just started.
We scouted the area, and noted the amount of mud that was accumulating all around the table areas. Compared to last and other years where we had morning moisture, This was Far worse, as in the past it had been Moist, but not Wet.
The decision was made to talk with the Park Rangers about a Reschedule. Fortunately the Ranger we spoke to had known about who we were and has seen the Fursuits we normally present, and she agreed with us that those aren’t really designed to be tromping around in the mud. She brought up the schedule of available dates, and they were mostly in August and September. Knowing how hot August tends to be, we chose September 17th.
In the meantime, for those still looking to spend a Saturday with a big group of furries (and for those who have pre-purchased food items for FurBQ), we do know of an event that sprung up in lieu of the FurBQ reschedule. Consider this an “unofficial” substitute picnic for furries, as this was not organized by us as any sort of backup plan (see FAQ below). The Address for the Mile Square Park location currently is:
16801 Euclid St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708 Some furries were able to create some last minute signage in the attempts to direct you to the right area within Mile Square Park. However, please contact LostWolf321 (via Twitter) if you find yourself lost.
“Why didn’t you cancel the event the night before?”
In the past, when we were using the General Picnic Spots, we were free to do exactly that. Last year, sadly, We were flagged by the rangers as “Your group is too big to use the General Areas”, and we were told that future events held by us would need to be held in the Large Group Areas: Areas which are Minimum $300 to reserve, which is what we did for this year. The Major Caveat is that We Cannot make a “Rainout” decision ourselves, it would have to be at the discretion of the Rangers. Fortunately, the Rangers sided with our request.
“Why not move the event completely over to the New Park?”
At this time we have absolutely No clout with Mile Square Park: We have No idea how the Park Owners are going to take to 120+ people with costumed critters suddenly invading their space. Had this been a prior arrangement where we spoke to the Mile Square Park rangers in advance, we would be more willing to call it an “Official” relocation. But until we get names of the Owners of the park and chat with them, we cannot have an “Official” presence there yet. We are currently monitoring the impromptu event today, and will be asking for peoples input to see how we will proceed.
In the case of Mile Square Park, this is also under the OC Parks’ regional park system, so that means our group size would still be “too big” and thus we likely would have to reserve in the same way we have done this year for Irvine Regional Park
Update May 9th, 2016:
In the case of Mile Square Park, we just discovered that this is also under the OC Parks’ regional park system, so that means our group size would still be “too big” for the General picnic sites and thus we likely would have to reserve in the same way we have done this year for Irvine Regional Park