The whole ANE crew is battening down the hatches and getting ready for the biggest furry convention Boston has ever seen! All the preparations are pretty much in place, after many hours of work by our Convention Committee and various departments; our staff deserve a big hand for all the effort they’ve put in this year!
Before our event rolls out in a few days, I wanted to take a minute to lay out some changes you’ll see from last year, some numbers, and some overall updates.
First of all, please give a warm welcome to our new charity, Wings of the Dawn – we’re very excited to host them at this year’s event! Our human-focused charity is the returning Youth on Fire – both can be found in the DEALERS DEN alongside our Guests of Honor, Special Guest WEATHERISHAPPENING, and our health partners, Harbor Health. Both charities and our Guests of Honor Declan, Woozie and Wolf will also be hosting various panels throughout the weekend – be sure to check the schedule and the Big Video Board (yes, it’s back!) for timing on those featured events!
On the topic of panels, we’ve rearranged our event space a bit after learning the layout last year – check out our updated map! To no one’s surprise, having a year under our belts and physically being in the hotel helped us learn a bunch in terms of flow and space restrictions. You’ll now find all panels on the HOTEL side of the Westin, aka the side with the elevator banks to your hotel room; our Video and Board Gaming rooms have moved to the HARBOR side of the Westin, upstairs from Registration and across from the Harbor Ballroom.
We’ve moved our Night Market to the BIG Grand ballroom on Friday this year, with an additional dance happening at the same time in Harbor! The Night Market will have structured demonstrations, drag performances, and live music throughout the evening, while the Harbor dance is there for those who simply want to dance the night away.
The final major change you’ll see to con space is the layout of Registration and Convention Operations! We’ve combined those into one big room this year, in anticipation of a….slightly larger volume of you attending. Which leads me to my next point:
Numbers! We are highly anticipating pretty significant growth this year. While this is exciting, it’s also been a driving factor in our corresponding staff growth and overall decision making process. We’ve brought on close to 90 new staffers this year, in every department from Safety to Media to Registration. We’ve gotten ourselves better organized, and nailed down processes for getting everything done. We’re seeing attendees pre-register from all over the US, and from as far away as Singapore (hi Koda!). It’s scary, but really exciting to know that folks are willing to brave Boston in JANUARY to experience our event!
We’ve invited four food trucks to bring you a variety of lunch options throughout the convention as well; you’ll find Naco Taco, Chicken and Rice Guys, Hungry Nomads, and Moyzilla all parked on D Street around midday. I can’t express enough how excited the trucks and hotel staff are to have us back, either; I’ve had a few really heartwarming conversations with folks recently and I hope next week we can bring them the same bright, positive energy that we clearly conveyed last year!
On the note of positivity, I want to thank everyone for being patient with us regarding our COVID policy. I’ll be honest, hosting a big event in January, in one of the coldest areas in the country, during flu/cold/peak COVID season, is stressful. We want to do right by our immunocompromised friends, and we appreciate everyone for joining us in that. Rest assured that we will be re-examining our policy for future years as things progress. Thank you again for bearing with us, and don’t forget – we require a booster that covers the Omicron strain (post-Sept 2022), but if you went above and beyond and got your flu/booster THIS season, stop by con ops for a chance to win a Patron membership in 2025!
Finally, thank you for considering Anthro New England as a convention to attend – we’d be nothing without your support. Our goals are only as ambitious as the community who wants them, and we hope to put on an unforgettable show for you this year!