Running a Furmeet III – The Meet Experience

There are many reasons why furs attend furmeets. Some are most interested in the fursuit walk, others prioritise playing table top games, while others again may just want to chill and socialise with friends. Many want a combination of all of these things and more.

The Fandom is an incredibly diverse place and meets need to reflect this. This is why we scout for feedback regularly and encourage people to contribute to the local meets if there is anything they would like to see. This has seen us conduct monthly quizzes, run prize draws and set up an Artists’ Alley, which allows artists a space to draw and showcase their work.

There are a number of meets across the country and we do try and keep the Leeds ones distinct. This is why we work with the bar to offer things like furry-themed cocktails and shots, as well as special offers on some of the drink and food. We also try and avoid going to venues that are similar to our friends in other cities so furs have a choice of different furmeet experiences across the UK.

We are also aware that there is a danger that the furmeets can become a little repetitive month after month, which is why on occasion we adopt special themes, such as our 100th birthday celebrations back in January. The variation of the fursuit walk route is another way of shaking the meets up a bit.

Ultimately, we aim to run a furmeet that everyone in our local community enjoys, one they recommend to their friends and one they keep coming back to. We are always happy to hear suggestions for new aspects of the meet as well as constructive feedback on how things could be done better. Remember, these are your meets and we want to deliver the best experience we can every third Saturday afternoon.

Thanks for attending, we do it for you.

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Running a Furmeet II – The Fursuit Walk

Over the last few years, the Fursuit Walk has become an increasingly important part of meets. For many furs, it is one of the main reasons for attending, so it’s very important it runs smoothly.

Most meets have a set route for their walks, which can be adapted depending on the circumstances. This route has been refined over time and provides a good template for future walks.

The basic route must avoid any areas of the city which could cause an issue, such as bars with a more boisterous clientelle, while also limiting the number of hazards that fursuiters are likely to encounter. In a city, this generally means aiming for pedestranised areas while keeping the number of roads to be crossed to a minimum. Areas with roadworks should also be avoided.

Events around the city also play a factor and can determine the route of the walk. For example, we know that Millennium Square is a good place to visit in February for the Ice Rink and August for City Beach, and so we tend to direct the walk towards this side of town during these months. When these events are taking place, there is a higher chance of public interaction and this is favoured by suiters.

The converse is also true though – if we know that there is a big demonstration in the city on a meet Saturday, for example, then we will avoid the area where it’s taking place. The same is true of an event which may not be particularly fursuit friendly, such as the Christmas Market in November and December. This means that in the days leading up to the meet, research is vital, and this is conducted by the team ahead of the walk route being finalised.

Another factor to consider is the weather. If it’s a hot sunny day, then the walk needs to be shortened so fursuiters don’t get dehydrated. Meanwhile, if there is a threat of rain, then the walk must not venture too far from the venue and should be near enclosed spaces wherever possible.

All of these factors are considered in the days leading up to the furmeet, but there are things on the day which also determine the nature of the walk. The main one concerns the number of fursuiters. It is very important to have the right number of spotters to fursuiters, and to ensure that all those who are marshalling the walk are in constant communication with each other. Inevitably, this affects the route we choose, as it’s important we do not lose anyone plus there is a need to be able to respond quickly should an incident occur. This is also the reason why we carry radio communication devices and wear hi-viz jackets.

Whenever you are out in public, there is always a risk that you could run into an issue, particularly with people who do not show suiters the same respect that members of our community do. Most of the time the walks pass without incident, but this doesn’t mean that the chance is nil. Everything we do in the organising of the Fursuit Walk is done to reduce this risk and we do hope that everyone has fun showcasing their suits, interacting with the public and taking photographs. Running the walks can be a challenge, but over time we have adapted to the changes in our community and our city, and hope that everyone enjoys what is an integral part of the meets. It’s certainly a pleasure to run them.

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Upcoming Meets

Leeds Meets generally take place on the third Saturday of every month.

The next meets will be:

#127 – Saturday 20th November

Leeds Main Meets return!

We are delighted to announce that the first in-person Leeds Meet since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic will take place on Saturday 16 October from 1pm.

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