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..
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.
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.
A Few FAQs to address:
“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