Over 14-18 August, Berlin's Estrel hotel was filled to capacity with furs attending Eurofurence 25: 'Fractures in Time' - both the largest furry convention outside the United States (attracting 3412 this year; a 400 increase), and the oldest running furry convention in the world. EF25 celebrated 25 years since Unci made the post on alt.fan.furry leading to the con's creation.
Due to the eponymous fractures in time, Eurofurence 25 started by showing the closing video during the opening ceremonies! That was hardly the only disturbance in time and space, as attendees also saw Uncle Kage announcing the move of Anthrocon to Pittsburgh before time stabilised enough to continue as normal. It was the most impressive opening of the past five years, and you can get a sense of the excitement from one attendee's upload on YouTube. Beyond the opening ceremonies, it's impossible for any one person to see everything. I'll give an idea of what I saw and what was going on so that everyone has an idea of what they may be able to expect in future years.
The 2019 charity was the The Lutreola Foundation; an Estonian-based organization dedicated to conservation of the European mink. This species is critically endangered, primarily due to habitat losses and competition with the American mink – released in Europe due to the fur trade. Eurofurence raised money in various ways, including a charity shop, fursuiters asking for donations, the art auction, a retro video game tournament and daily polls.
One exciting new charity item was a limited edition magazine, Playfox/Playvixen, which contained suggestive content that drew inspiration from Playboy/Playgirl. Only 250 copies were printed and they didn't last long. (My own Playvixen submission can be read on SoFurry.) The magazine raised ~€3000 for charity; by closing ceremonies, a non-final total of €22 207 had been raised. Funds raised will be used to set up a sanctuary for European mink on the island of Saaremaa. When asked about his thoughts of Eurofurence, Lutreola director Tiit Maran commented that:
[To] see such a large group of people with so much creativity and so much eagerness to make this world a better place is heart-warming and motivating, really. I am going to miss you guys.
AlectorFencer was the guest of honour this year, and was able to bring the freshly-printed copies of her new comic Haunter of Dreams - set in the same universe as her previous comic, MYRE - Chronicles of Yria Volume 1 (co-authored with 2 Gryphon), for which she was awarded the 2018 Rudolph Dirks Award for Best German Artist. It wasn't the only new comic she brought; she also invited German comedian Hella von Sinnen to join her.
There were a surprising number of events at Eurofurence focussed on Japan. Not only was there a meet-up and a talk on the Kemono fandom by Mangluca – a Japan Meeting of Furries (JmoF) staff member – but also three talks by Kira Resari about his year-long trip to Japan, covering fox shrines and the Shinto religion, sites in Japan where you can interact with many animals and his own views and experience of the Japanese furry fandom.
For those interested in visiting Japan, Kira advises:
- If you want to see many amazing Fox Shrines, start in Tokyo, where two Golden Fox Shrines [his term for shrines with many fox statues] are located, travel to Kyoto via Fuji (Fuji-san) and Toyokawa (Toyokawa Inari), and then visit Fushimi Inari-taisha.
- If you want to see live foxes, start in Tokyo (two Golden Fox Shrines), continue to Shiroishi (Zao Kitsune Mura), then to Morioka (Golden Fox Shrine) and from there to Sapporo.
- If you get a translation of your driver's licence in Tokyo, you can then rent a car for cheap in Sapporo, and drive to Kitami from there and visit the Kitami North Fox Farm.
Eurofurence 25 dance stage; photo by Djem One particularly interesting guest was the Furscience team. Originally advertised as attending EF23, they had to cancel a couple of weeks before. Happily, this time they made it. I think it worked out well for them, as attendees returned a record 75.2% of their surveys! There were two Furscience talks, one spontaneous one with Hella von Sinnen and the scheduled talk where they discussed their results and experiences over the years. While the results were very interesting, I was rather disappointed that they continued to use "fur" and "furries" interchangeably rather than adopting the convention Joe Strike set out in Furry Nation of using "fur" to refer to the person and "furry" to refer to the characters.
For an event with one of the highest percentages of attendees in fursuits, one expected, but absent, event was the fursuit parade. For many reasons, there was no parade this year. It's not yet clear what will take its place. I also noticed a strange absence of information on the after-dark dealers den introduced at Eurofurence last year. Despite featuring on the online schedule and Eurofurence app, it is conspicuously absent from both the conbook and pocket programme.
All that has been mentioned was only a subset of what was going on at Eurofurence 25. There were also dances, many other panels, the dealer's den, a daily convention newspaper, the Pawpets show and even a marriage proposal! Eurofurence is still a great place to meet up with European furs and has a very wide programme of events with something to suit everyone and tonnes of fun. I enjoyed myself and am very much hoping to visit again in the future.
Eurofurence 26 will again be held at the Estrel Hotel in Berlin over 19-23 August 2020. Themed "Welcome to Tortuga – On the High Seas", it features a banner by Caraid, who is developing somewhat of a reputation for pirate artwork. Caraid was guest of honour at Furry Weekend Atlanta 2019 and produced several amazing pieces for the pirate-themed convention. Her site header was also a finalist for the 2018 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards.
See also: Rakuen's con reports for EF21, EF23 and EF24, as well as the swag he got this year.
Picture credits: Alex "Khaki" Vance – Djem