Tails and Tornadoes
This year's Tails and Tornadoes convention, held at the Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is only the third furry convention I've been to. Previous conventions I have attended were Oklacon 2004 and Anthrocon 2017, and I only made it all the way to Pittsburgh due to being nominated for an Ursa Major award and wanting to attend the awards presentation (I ended being late and missing the announcement of my category, but I lost anyway). Tails and Tornadoes, like Oklacon before it, had the advantage of being cheap and nearby, as I am a local Oklahoman.
As I live only an hour from Tulsa, I made the decision to just commute daily to the convention, as I calculated that the price of gas would ultimately be cheaper than staying at the hotel for me, not to mention cutting out the hassle of actually booking a room and possibly even finding a roommate for the stay. So, I have no idea how the late night atmosphere of the convention was, or the reality of the room situation there. The truth is, that part, the social aspects of convention going is just not for me, despite the fact that it seems a primary draw for just about everyone else. Hence my relatively low total life convention attendance.
Hello, and a big welcome to the September edition of Digging Up Positivity! These months are the height of convention season and it shows! So many events, both online and offline.
Last premiere I was at Eurofurence together with FoxAmoor, the guest of the previous episode. But when I got back to the Netherlands, merely half a day later I was on the road to Splinter, an amazing four day event in the Netherlands. And after that, we were guests at the Stork Run in The Hague, more about this all that later. And at the end of the episode I will tell you how to win one of these amazing Thabo paw pillows from my artwork Tee merch store.
But first, the astounding amount of charities since last episode!
Since its debut in 2019, Tails and Tornadoes Fur Con (TTFC) has striven to create an atmosphere welcoming furries from around the world to Tulsa, OK each year. This year's theme, "Ren-Fur" was chosen in 2021 by attendees and staff during the closing ceremonies; influenced by renaissance stories, it included custom artwork and theming courtesy of TTFC Artist Guest of Honor Boltie.
Fursuit maker Guest of Honor Heads & Tails Studios worked closely with the convention and new official TTFC charity Animal Rescue Foundation of Bartlesville to produce charity auction items, such as two brand-new fursuit heads, one which was raffled for charity and the other that was auctioned off. The result of ARFs' charity fundraising was a convention-wide contribution of more than $16,000.
TTFC also had some notable moments, including an all-new dance competition and floor wars program that included one of THREE marriage proposals during the weekend. In addition, TTFC's programming included performances from Citrine Husky and many more! Barring the unexpected brief power outage during closing, TTFC was able to close out 2022 with a smile on everyone's face.
The following is a Newsletter written by the Vice Chair for Tails and Tornadoes, Koori Kitty
After almost two years of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Tails and Tornadoes Fur Con made its triumphant return to the Southern Hills Tulsa Marriott hotel over Labor Day weekend, September 3-5,2021. The convention, led by Koori Kitty (President / Vice Chair) and Mattew (Chair) provided a safe and fun atmosphere for furry convention goers during the weekend. During the event, TTFC raised more than $6000 for their charity, Safari's Sanctuary. In addition, TTFC welcomed more than 568 attendees and over 160 fursuiters in the parade.
This year's convention theme, "Rawring 20's" was originally intended for the event scheduled in 2020, which was to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the "Roaring 20's" era complete with art, dapper costumes and decor. However, due to the pandemic, TTFC along with many other events were forced to postpone. There were many challenges and difficult decisions to be made when planning for the return of furry conventions after what we experienced in 2020. We spent many long hours planning and meeting with various teams, government officials, and our hotel team to ensure attendees not only had the best experience but the safest experience possible
Like many conventions, TTFC implemented a variety of pandemic safety measures, including required mask wearing coupled with vaccine proof or negative test results. The convention took great care in making sure the health of their attendees, staff and guests were priority. Although challenging at first, TTFC's staff came together and sucessfully screened hundreds of guests.
As I've been browsing Twitter recently, scrolling through various news about the fandom, I came across this QRT (quote retweet for the less savvy) talking about a new con and how it was going to fail right out of the gate. Being the curious investigator I am, I decided to look at the original post from an organization calling themselves AWOO or Anthro West Open Organization. From what I saw, I was saddened by the number of my fellow furs calling for death to the con, or wish harm to those that would hold it, especially since we used to be such a loving fandom. I kept reading more into the reasons why people both hated, and loved this con or the idea of it (whichever it is, we'll know for certain soon enough).
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tails and Tornadoes is a young convention that's been running in the Central U.S. state since 2019. Its premiere year was reviewed here on Flayrah by one-time contributor Koori Kitty. Like the weather system it was named after, the con has subsequently found itself in a whirlwind that's rattled its organization.
The first shakeup was one that affected most gatherings, in that its second year was unable to be held in 2020 due to COVID-19 closures. But on top of this, the same year brought in political fallout from the final year of Trump's presidency. Riots in the American Midwest soon spurred worldwide protests following the murder of George Floyd by a law enforcement officer, where the unarmed black man was strangled by a knee to his neck that was held there for over eight minutes. The entire duration of the strangulation was recorded on a smartphone and shared over the Internet.
The United States government, under the leadership it held, decided to go against the advisability of de-escalation in these matters and instead responded with hostile rhetoric. Given the shutdown of many non-essential jobs due to the pandemic, this created a perfect storm of vocal protests and rioting towards an unsympathetic system, sentiments that spread far beyond the Midwest where the murder took place.
Update: Correction made about staffing shifts from 2020 to 2021 in Tails and Tornados per Koori.
Oklahoma's first three-day hotel furry convention, Tails and Tornadoes Fur Con (TTFC), has a lot to celebrate after their inaugural convention – themed as "Taking Oklahoma by Storm", and focusing on local furs and their experiences of wild weather.
The convention, held August 30-September 1 at the Southern Hills Marriott in Tulsa, OK, has been in the works for over a year, after organizers saw increased attendance at local meets, such as a furry bowling event.
TTFC's mission is to produce events with educational value surrounding the topic of anthropomorphic arts – and to raise awareness of local wildlife rescue organizations, such as their current charity, Safari's Sanctuary, based in Broken Arrow, OK.
TTFC 2019 hosted at least 507 attendees and 86 fursuiters, and raised $7000 for their charity. Chair Peace Wolf lead a team of sixty staff and advisors, working with TTFC's first two Guests of Honor, Stormi the Folf (of Mississippi) and Citrinelle (Texas).
Based on attendance, TTFC is currently the 46th largest furry convention globally. Next year's TTFC is to be held September 4-6, 2020, with the theme "Rawring 20's" — Guest of Honour and event details will be listed on the convention's website, once available.