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Hit by FurBQ…. And Now the Post-Event Report

What a crazy week and a half it has been! Things are (still) slowly getting packed away, but the memories and fun linger from FurBQ 2019.  

We had gone to bed, feeling we are as ready as we could be for this year’s prep.  Beep beep went the alarm, and we rolled out of bed. With half of the stuff pre-packed into the car, we only had a few trips to make, and packed the coolers.  We headed down the mountain around 4:45am, looking ahead to the road. Nearing Orange County, we kept our eyes out on our Weather app and Kat looked at the sky for the clouds. We arrived just as the park was opening, with barely a wait.  Kat had a very brisk walk in almost darkness, as she put the signs up along the way down the park’s road.  

As cold as the morning was, many of our usual attendees were there first thing. People were milling around the lot, and there was a bit of movement as people began to bring up the food or items they were contributing. Ahki/Parawolf showed up with a full rolling cart of goodies. From the unloading going on, I could tell that our breakfast time was going to get on a whole new level.  

We had a full kitchen stock worth of breakfast items — from bacon (thanks to Blackie’s dad for bringing some cooked bacon.  Parawolf must have gone through about a dozen eggs, and still had a good deal remaining.

Admittedly, if the rain wasn’t something that we were looking to the skies for….we were also having to pay attention to one of the trees on the farther side of the picnic grounds. As luck would have it,  we had some familiar ‘friends’ that we would be hosting alongside our attendees — BEES! Yup, not just a visible presence of bees, but a whole tree full of them. While Kat was walking around filling holes and adding signs, Stego made contact with park staff who were able to send someone over to put in a report so that the bee nest could be dealt with properly at a later date.  The ranger also placed some helpful signs that (hopefully) other furs would read. From general conversation, there was some constructive ideas for next year. Someone (I wish we could remember thier name) had even brought us a plastic bottle style trap, which would be a humane way to deal with the problem. We would like to put a call out to any suggestions of some humane bee traps that we can purchase in bulk.  

Leo Tsubasa had also arrived and was eager to set up. Unfortunately, due to some changes made in his grilling area, we found that it was better to coalesce his grilling stations with the ones that Stego likes to use. Parawolf remained on that other side, with his coffee station set up for all the furs that would come that morning. If you can believe it, 6 gallons of coffee was consumed (and 100 hot cups used) by the time 6:30am rolled around, and Parawolf began running out.  Outside of the coffee, many loved the other hot drinks that Parawolf had to offer. Even I hoped to snag a cup of hot cocoa, but the morning kept me quite busy.

The pickup truck belonging to Chance the Dragon rolled up early, despite how far he (and the other San Diego furries) must drive to reach Irvine. I would say that the ground was probably still wet, but with the impending weather reports of previous days, these furries were prepared. Moving with efficiency, this series of Easy-Up tents were ready to receive furries within the hour of their arrival. 

Video by Scruffy the Fox

As the day went on, a few of us would occasionally look to the sky. The clouds wanted to hang around, and we had an idea of how the “chance of precipitation” would change through the day. A few furs had set up two Easy-Ups with no walls, and were serving drinks (sodas, non-alcoholic beverages, etc..). Nearby, a table was set up for artists to chat and work on sketches. As much concern as people did show about the rain before the event, I think people were unphased by the cooler weather.  

At three, it was time for what has become tradition – the big group photo. Big groups of furs were moving all around the field area by around 2:45. (Sorry, Chance! I totally spaced on that and was telling people 3:30 for some reason. Thanks for the heads up) I had been talking with a first-time attendee who originally thought to stay out of the shot, but even I found myself doing some (light) herding of this fursuiter. Believe me, it doesnt matter how partial your fursuit is, or whether your head is perfect…. Chance wants you in the shot! He even herded me down the middle and I wished my new friends off as they piled into one of the middle rows. Thanks to our fur-tographers who were down for some fursuit wrangling and getting the right shot. Also, the tall ladder and the 2 accompanying drones were also helpful to help our ever-growing fursuit population squeeze in.

A short while after the crowd broke apart, it began to sprinkle.  This reminded me to get into gear about cleaning up the grounds. Sometimes, finding help is hard because people have scheduled things after the event.  With the rain being noticed by everyone, I knew there might be some who dont want to wait it out and might just leave. I took moments to connect with attendees as I went around and grabbed any errant soda cans. Trigger Happy Squirrel brought his large recycling bin (the large blue ones that many people have for recycling pickup at their house) back to the event, and so that allowed for a lot of our plastics and aluminum to be taken off of the grounds. We didnt have as many trash cans set up on the far end of the table due to the proximity of the “bee tree”, so with others’ help, we were able to keep things from piling up. Despite the weather and the lowering sun, Stego and I saw a visible improvement between the chaos of last year and this year, and we really appreciate that more people stuck by to help. (Blue Jaguar, Brum, Janala, and Kirin… you guys really stuck it out for us.  Also, some of the San Diego furs really stuck it out to the end, despite that long drive home)

Did you lose anything at FurBQ?   If you are still searching through your personal effects, please let us know if you think you might have lost something on the FurBQ grounds.  While everyone was doing trash detail, we did pick up a few things (clothing items, a belt, sports equipment, and yes… the quintessential single fursuit paw). 

By morning, we still were feeling the long work of that amazing day.  Each year, we have a set of notes to take home, related to making sure we can improve on this fun event. With the population size, we have some big things to think about as we look to 2020.

With all the trolling from Mother Nature, and our normal worries about having enough/budgeting enough for the reservations and food…. The furry community comes together again and really makes this event what it was.   When it came to the (official) grilling, Stego and Leo really take on a whole day of standing at a hot grill. Kona Roo was here for fun, but he ended up jumping into the fray and made some delicious elotes.  

We are a bit taken aback this year, as we also got a $600 donation in food and supplies from the Huntington Park Chapter of the Elks Lodge.  Our event brings alot of different groups of people together, with diverse backgrounds and hobbies. Elks Lodge #1415 is a little known part of FurBQ history, having attended our events in the last 5+ years.  This is a big deal to us and something that really knocked Stego over with a feather.

Also, we have to hand it to the people who were able to donate to our Ko-fi, for the 2019 event: Blue Hasia, WhiskeyWuf, Rivercoon, Ubervoop, Leo Tsubasa, Anna Songbird

Changing Clocks and Gears (Community Feedback)

Can it finally be “Spring” yet? While recent SoCal weather has yet to decide, we look at March as when things start to happen.  Well, we can only speak for ourselves when we say that.  Really, for the Southern California area, this is a year round thing. 😉

Looking on recent weeks, I can say that events are picking up again.  From photoshoot meets in Ventura and Santa Barbara, pockets of small monthly meets, to casual park meets in Pasadena and Orange County … the mix of event types has been nice. Admittedly, we did post some meets that …well… we arent sure how they went. We try and keep in contact with organizers, especially for the new events, but sometimes we get no answer.  No matter how you communicate best, our contact form is always open.

Special thanks to Anpu42 who helps keep Meetup.com cooking and assists in finding more great events to add all around.  Special thanks to Axel and Leo Tsubasa for helping with upkeep on our Facebook Page.

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Fuzzy Frolic with SoCal FurBQ 2017

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..

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Prep-Prep-Prepping: We Have An Update

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.

SoCal Furs FurBQ 2016: 18 Years Of Fun and Fur

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….

First of the Morning Fursuiters

First two fuzzies at FurBQ

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.

FurBQ Afternoon Crowd

Event in full swing, with nice weather and some shade under all these trees.

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.