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..
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.
Making New Connections
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).
Important Thank Yous
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
- Thank you to Irvine Regional Park, and its staff, for helping us acclimate to the new area and the reservation process. We would like to thank the rangers who came by to check on us and who helped with parking issues.
- Our “grillmasters” were Leo Tsubasa, Stego, and Blaze Arctic, and a few others who briefly stepped into service. Having 3+ grills in the main area meant a lot more to look after as we cooked. Stego really appreciated the help, as did Leo.
- We thank Parawolf for bringing a massive coffee setup (complete with folding tables) for the morning crowd. Also thanks to UberVoop for coming out here and bringing a heaping helping of meat to start our morning/afternoon with. We also got some tasty treats that made great additions to the table.
- As always, it seems the San Diego Furries come up with a great setup for fursuiters. With their tent, furries had a way to change clothing without having to cram themselves in a bathroom stall. With encouragement from us, they also made sure to keep furries from dehydrating or overheating. Thanks so much, guys!
- To Trigger Happy Squirrel, thanks so much for your efforts to reduce our trash and recyclables every year. As the sun set and people were leaving, he stepped in and helped clean up the picnic areas and all areas we had occupied for that day. Because he had enough room to carry multiple trash bags, it made a difference in how many trash bags were piled up for the park staff to deal with.
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.
Lost and Found
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) Green Cutting Board.– FOUND & RETURNED TO OWNER
- Bag of fur. This was passed to us by another attendee during our previous (2015) event. It has few big pieces in oranges and reds, along with some scrap fur. It was specifically found off to the side near the trash area but we didnt think it was meant to be trashed.
- Soccer Ball This is another item that was left to us from a previous FurBQ. The ball is mainly white, with red and black accents. If you think that might be yours, please contact us.
Feel free to go directly to our Lost and Found gallery to view these items.
In a swirl of suitcases and action packers, we return home just a bit more refreshed than when we left for Califur 2016. The convention was a combination of old ideas and a new setting to put it all in. Admittedly, we did not have a SIG/panel there at the con this year (first time in a long time) so we dont really have any current updates for you.
However, this doesnt stop us from wanting to ask the community (that went to Califur) for some help in providing our local convention some feedback. For those that attended the convention this past weekend, Califur staff has created this neat survey:
SoCalFurs is undergoing some changes of our own. Admin (and staff) changes have happened and we are working on dealing with the results of those changes. None of this really relates to the (rescheduled) 2016 FurBQ. That is still on for September 17th, and we will post more information as we get that taken care of.
For now, we look forward to stuff heating up for June and July, and hopefully that means more events for our calendar (but feel free to let us know of your event by submitting to our form.