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ConFurence was the first exclusively furry convention,[1] held annually in southern California from 1989 to 2003. The large furry presence at the BayCon science fiction conventions instigated Mark Merlino and Rod O'Riley to throw "furry parties" at Westercon, Baycon, and other west coast sci-fi conventions in the late 80's. This led to the test gathering in 1989, ConFurence Zero.[2]

According to Joe Strike, ConFurence had a more adult vibe than today’s furry conventions.[3]


After trying the Red Lion hotel, Confurence 0 was held at the Holiday Inn Bristol Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, on January 21 to 22, 1989.[2] While attendance for this first serious attempt to create a "funny animal fandom" convention was sparse at 65 persons, it was enough to encourage the Californians to attempt a full-fledged furry convention next year. Attendance was doubled to 130 for the first official ConFurence convention in January 1990,[4] proving them right.

In 1997 Kare 11 reported adult oriented events going on at the convention.[5] At the height of popularity in 1998, ConFurence 9 boasted the then-largest furry convention attendance of 1250.[6]

Control of the ConFurence convention was transferred to Darrel Exline in 1999, who created a new entity called "The ConFurence Group" to run it, but by 2003 attendance had dwindled to 470 due to increased competition from other regional furry conventions and infighting among different factions of anthropomorphic fandom. The final ConFurence gathering gained notoriety when television crew from The Man Show appeared and attempted to interview attendees on camera.[7]

With the demise of ConFurence,[8] Mark Merlino and Robert Johnson Jr. teamed up to establish Califur in 2004 to continue the tradition of a furry convention in Southern California.[9]


ConFurence created the mold by which other furry conventions were to follow, with the successful art show, a masquerade and an emphasis on fan-created content and Guests of Honor. As of 2018 there are dozens furry conventions and many more meets and gatherings all around the world, due in part to ConFurence's lead.

The name ConFurence is a registered trademark of the ConFurence Group. It is not a generic term for a furry convention, but as the original furry convention, many later cons took similar-sounding names, such as the now defunct ConFurence East (originally called Furtasticon in 1994 and took the name MoreFurCon just before its dissolution in 1997), and the current Eurofurence.


  1. ^ Patten, Fred (2012-07-15). "Retrospective: An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom, 1966–1996". Flayrah. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  2. ^ a b Patten, Fred (2017). Furry Fandom Conventions 1989-2015. McFarland and Company, Inc. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-4766-6381-4.
  3. ^ "Bad Dragon's kingdom of fantasy sex toys is caged by 'queer' capitalism". The Daily Dot. 2019-11-27. Retrieved 2021-12-15.
  4. ^ Strike, Joe (2017). Furry Nation: The True Story of America's Most Misunderstood Subculture. Cleis Press. ISBN 978-1-62778-232-6.
  5. ^ ChangaLion. "Kare 11 at Confurence 8 – The ConFurence Archive". Retrieved 2022-01-06.
  6. ^ Anthropomorphic Fandom Convention Information Sheet, Flint Otterhall
  7. ^ Exline, Darrel L. (30 April 2003). "Rumor control from Darrel Exline". Retrieved 25 December 2022. Unfortunately, this rumor helped to make problems at the convention, and since the "good" footage ended up unusable, only the bad footage remains... If either program is seen as "bad" toward the fandom, it's largely the fault of people who didn't want to speak up in a positive light when given the opportunity.
  8. ^ Exline, Darrel L. "ConFurence is no more". The Polar Den. Archived from the original on 2003-05-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "CaliFur 2011: A Furry Convention". Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.

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