While most of us are probably spending the Fourth of July soaking up the sun in light clothes or bathing suits, a few have elected to go the opposite route, encasing themselves in hot fuzzy suits and hitting the streets of Pittsburgh.

Image via cloudpouncer / Twitter

Image via cloudpouncer / Twitter

They’re known as “furries” and more than 5,000 of them have descended on Pittsburgh for the ninth annual “Anthrocon” gathering, which began Thursday and lasts until Sunday.

Furries are, essentially, people dressed as animals dressed as people.

Image via Corey Stephenson / Twitter

Image via Corey Stephenson / Twitter

They’re like many a sports team’s mascot, only furries don’t get paid to suit up and sweat — they do it for fun.

Event rules ban taking pictures of any costumed attendees with their masks off, and some furries seemed to be somewhat private about their hobby.

“I work for a weapons manufacturing company,” one man, identified only as “Kyle F.,” told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If my co-workers found out about what I was doing this weekend, they might take a hunting permit on me.”

Image via WTAE-TV / Twitter

Image via WTAE-TV / Twitter

The furries seem to have found a safe haven in Pittsburgh. Local WTAE-TV posted nearly 100 pictures of Anthrocon attendees in their various furry attire, and event organizers said the city has treated them well, despite their odd hobby.

“There is no city that welcomes us in the way Pittsburgh does,” said Samuel “Uncle Kage” Conway, chairman and CEO of Anthrocon, to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “People here have embraced walking foxes as part of the scene.”

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