Sunday morning came and we have become the walking dead. Stego and I will be spending today just recovering from a full day of bringing the fun of Fall FurBQ back for the masses. We had awoken at 3:30 and tackled the day, hardly ever sitting down. Now that it is catching up to us, we can thank our lucky stars that our fingers aren't too sore to give you an after-action report. :)
Stego and I had prepared well on Friday night, grabbing the rest of our food supply and putting our cooking utensils and supplies into bags to pack the car. Got on the road about 4am and picked up one of our friends. As the sun was coming up, we arrived at the park's gates. After a short wait, we rolled into the park and began set up (as well as setting up our directional signage).
Within a very short time, we found some familiar faces joining us. Leo Tsubasa and Mischief were there soon and naturally fell into the act of helping us with our morning meals (including "cowboy coffee"). By 10am, people were enjoying bacon, sausage and some donuts another fur brought. Picnic tables started getting stacked with great sides to go along with the meat we would make for lunch, and others brought some tasty treats.
Our usual "art table" had also formed with people breaking out sketchbooks and socializing with fellow creatives. Others took advantage of the "fursuit weather" of cool November and showed up to experience the park as their character or fursona. The amount of fursuiters grew throughout the day and made for some fun photos.
We are pleased to see so many people show up and contribute to the event in various ways. Collaborations and chance meetings are part of the FurBQ experience. As much as we sounded stern in announcing the event's closure (park closes at 6pm and we want to keep the rangers happy), we were pleased to see how many people were enjoying themselves. 5pm came and we were grateful for the people who had stopped to help us clean up and return the park to its non-furry state. :)
Overall, our event was trouble free and it is the community we have the most to thank for this. Many of you guys know that dedication and discipline are involved in making sure this event can serve the community but without being at the expense of the park authorties or eachother. However, inevitable change is upon us in regards to our FurBQ events (both spring and fall)
Every year, we are stunned to see how big our local furry community has grown. However, and for the first time ever, we need to say that our event has outgrown its nest. Officially, we were told by the rangers, that we are over capacity. This means change is inevitable for our event. Although we would like to continue using Irvine Regional Park for this event, we are going to have to start looking into options for areas that will allow for groups of 150+ people.
Kat did a headcount throughout the event and we noticed something. In previous years (and during our Spring event), many people from our event wandered over to some of the neighboring areas for fursuit nature photos, to take a hike on the nearby trail, or to visit people by the zoo and railroad. In the fall, the railroad looked to be closed up and that most people seemed content to play on the field. Even some of the ARENA antics were playing out, with people practicing combat skills and movement.
Park rangers check on our group throughout the day, but for this event, its possible that we just had too many people at our event at one time. So, they have asked us to address this population increase by use of a larger group area within the park. Irvine Regional Park has some areas with pavilion structures and other features which may help our event grow.
This wont be without some increased procedure on our part and possibly some changes into how we do our event in the future. Other furry events have experienced this kind of "growing pain", as its common for parks to have policy regarding groups that exceed ~100 people. Before FurBQ (spring) happens this year, Stego and I will need to look further into the park's choice of areas which can accommodate our growing fandom.
This event was no exception in that some items got separated from their owner. We do apologize if, towards the end of the day, some of you felt like you were rushed to pack up and leave. Im sure that contributed to this ritual:
- One Red D&D T-shirt. Size 2XL
- Bag of red fur. This was passed to us by another attendee who found it off to one side. We didnt think it was meant to be trashed.
- Fire extinguisher. We know that people have sometimes lent us things that can help our job at the grill easier but this isnt ours. Please let us know if you are short this item when you unpack.
- Soccer Balls (2) From previous spring FurBQs, some soccer balls got misplaced and so we still have these.
Please check the above list and contact us so we can reunite you with your stuff. We will ask that you describe your item to us and then work with you on getting it back to you. In addition, we are wondering if anyone has found an iPhone from the event. The owner would really like this back so please help us by letting us know if you have an extra phone you may have picked up from the event.