Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Scenes From the Texas Furry Fiesta

By Bixyl Shuftan

From Friday March 26 to Sunday March 28, the Texas Furry Fiesta took place in Second Life, and a few other places online. Much like with the Gen Con last year, the decision to make the event virtual was because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

The TFF however would have a smaller designated area in the virtual world than Gen Con last year. The location was in the Crimson sim, the lower area next to the beach with the sounds of waves coming ashore.

There was a freebie "store" with a small selection of free avatars. They were quite dated, but better than nothing. I didn't see any Wingless avatars, but was later told they weren't put up as there was only so much room. 

Clicking on a crystal would teleport one up to the upper level, a beach park area. The main feature was a two story building with a flat roof. 

There wasn't much on the first floor, though there was a request to donate to charity.

The second floor had a small dance floor.

The top floor had some seating and a "Cards Against Humanity" game.

Near the building were a couple other games, and a screen people could watch one of the streamed channels.

There was also a display for pages of the website.

A few people were dropping by early to check things out.

The event also had places in VR Chat and Minecraft. I checked out the latter.

There was a hotel made of bricks, where players appeared. 

With the inside detailed. There were also water elevators one could flow up in.

Outside the hotel, there were various plots, where people with permission could build something.

Taking a look after the con was over, build they did.

Friday March 26 was the official start of the 'con. Much of it was on Discord with streamed channels. But there was activity in Second Life. I ran into Shelby Allen, one of the TFF staff.

Shelby explained things were going smoothly, and showed me around a little. There were a few others around, including some whom hadn't been around in a while.

There was one thing I hadn't seen in a while. There was a group of Yinglet avatars around, the largest since the release party in Montecito Bay.

When I mentioned this to one of them, she smiled, "Obviously, you haven't been looking in zhe right places."

Later that night, the "Cards Against Humanity" (or furanity?) proved to be a hit. 

And some fun conversations.

Saturday March 27, I saw something I hadn't seen in almost 12 years. This was one of the limited edition Lost Furest kitty avatars sold with all proceeds going to the Relay for Life. While I had gotten the Hope Kitty, I forget which one this was. 

There was more activity at the top of the building.

Someone showed up in a petite avatar, looking small.

And someone changed to a six-inch Lomtech from Lomgren Smalls, at six inches, looking smaller.

While it might not have been a real-life convention, there was plenty to do. Besides VR Chat and Minecraft, some were playing video games over Twitch. And on some Discord channels there were discussions and music playing.  I listened to a few minutes of those, but not a lot. This was partially due to the instant messages I was getting, and partially because with my experience with cons, I've found it best to relax and not worry about doing too much.

On Sunday came a message from HR Fluffenstuff over Discord, "Thank you for joining us for TFF's 2021 Virtual Con the discord Server will be taken down on 04-02-2021.  We will be looking at rebuilding it properly with the feedback we got from our attendees. Our social media team will announce when and where it will be hosted when we are able. 

"Thank you again for joining us and we hope to see you at the 2022 Live con!"

One friend of mine who attended commented the experience was so involving, he ended up getting post-con blues. Others on Discord posted they liked it as well, "(I) really enjoyed what I have seen of TFF and got to connect with people I would never be able to talk to." "I have enjoyed this Virtual convention experience very much. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen.  It is normally next to impossible for me to get time off work to travel, so Virtual is the only way I have been able to experience any type of furry convention in a long, long time.  I hope that you will be able to consider having a virtual presence going forward. Not just for me, but for others who have difficulty traveling, including those who have disabilities, or who are otherwise home-bound."

What happens next year is still to be determined. But hopefully there will be some kind of presence by the Texas Furry Fiesta in Second Life next year, either their own area or cooperating with one or more furry areas.

Bixyl Shuftan

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