Not just a costume: A look at Regina's furry community
A furry is someone who is part of a subculture where people dress up as animals - and that subculture has a presence in the Queen City.
Michael Schmidt is a furry in Regina, but when he's in his fur suit, he goes by the name of Munchkin.
"Munchkin is kind of a hybrid, he's a fox, which again is my little character,” said Michael Schmidt. “I'm mischievous, I want to explore do stuff like this a bit of a trouble maker which sometimes people bug me about, as well as a cat character because I’m more independent."
Schmidt is a part of Saskatchewan’s fur community. He said there are around 350 to 400 active members in the province. He said for a lot of people, dressing up like an animal gives them an escape.
"The persona is a representation of your animal spirit guide,” said Schmidt. “What you feel like, what you connect with and your personality as well. Nobody knows who you are you can put a costume on, go up there on stage act silly, do stuff you would never do as a human."
On Friday, a group of furries got together to go bowling. The community also comes together to entertain, join parades, raise money for charities and they insist all events are family friendly.
"A great big welcoming community,” said Derrick Hogemann. “It doesn’t matter who are you or what you are or where you're from."
Some of the members of the fur community said at times they have been judged for dressing up as animals. But they all agree, if you have any questions to ask them and if you're interested you should give it a try with them.
"A lot of the people that don’t understand, they see us outcasts, something bad to the community," said Linda Ranks. "We go to a lot of events and let them see us so that they know that we're just like them. Just instead of walking a dog, we want to run around with the dog."
Because at the end of the day, if something makes you happy, why not enjoy it?
"For a short time you are not you, you can be some magical character and that's what it's all about," said Schmidt.