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Welcome to the world of “furries”: the thousands of Americans who’ve gotten in touch with their inner raccoon, or wolf, or fox.
Judging from the Midwest Fur Fest, this is no hobby.
A moose is loitering outside a hotel in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.
The other hotel guests look stunned.“We’re a group of people who like things having to do with animals and cartoons,” a man in a tiger suit tells a woman. But when you’re one of the furs, it’s one big extended family.”Next to him is his skinny, longhaired, fedora-wearing sidekick, a 23-year-old art student named Ian Johnson (nametag: r. “It’s like looking at it with baby eyes, or cub eyes.”“You regress into a child when you come to a convention,” Johnson says, “because it’s that kind of camaraderie, or childishness.”Riding with Ostrich It’s night. We get into his Chevrolet Metro and speed away from the Sheraton, toward the nearest mall. Ostrich, whose real name is Marshall Woods, is a compact guy in a denim jacket and blue jeans.
He’s 39 years old and works as a network administrator at a rubber company in Akron.“When I was very, very young, I knew I wanted to be some type of animal,” he says.
“I didn’t necessarily want to be the animal, but I wanted to have the animal shape, as far back as I can remember.
It’s that way for a lot of people.”He did normal things, like playing in the high-school marching band …“Now I’m old and I’m warped, everybody knows it, so I don’t bother hiding anything anymore!