|Venue||Donald E. Stephens Convention Center|
|Attendance||11,019 in 2019|
|Organized by||Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc.|
Midwest FurFest (abbreviated MFF) is the world's largest furry convention, which takes place in Rosemont, Illinois each December. MFF is an Illinois Educational Not-For-Profit Corporation that exists primarily for the purpose of holding an annual convention to facilitate education in anthropomorphic literature and art. It also facilitates the donation of funds to non-profit institutions, mainly of which promote the well-being of humans and/or animals. The convention was first held in 2000 and has grown to draw 11,019 attendees in 2019.
Background and history
Midwest FurFest started as the furry track for DucKon, a Chicago-based science fiction convention. The furry track was started at DucKon 3 in 1994 and was headed up by Robert King. The track grew larger each year and it was estimated that by DucKon 8 (1999) between one-quarter and one-third of the attendees were there due to interest in the furry track.
The track ran into problems because it was running out of room to expand without costing other parts of DucKon programming space and time. It was decided that the best course of action was to spin off into a new convention.
Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc. was created, and Midwest FurFest's first occurrence took place in November 2000, on the weekend before Thanksgiving. MFF left DucKon on good terms. DucKon provided funding to help the convention's first year.
The convention has grown from 473 attendees in 2000 to 10,989 in 2018, making it the largest furry convention in the world by more than 2,300 attendees over the previous largest convention, Anthrocon. It has helped raise over $449,000 for various charities.
2014 gas incident
On December 7, 2014, a gas leak occurred at the Hyatt hotel in Rosemont. The hotel was evacuated, and 19 guests were hospitalized. Later, an investigation found a broken glass bottle containing a concentration of chlorine powder inside the building. 18 of the 19 people hospitalized were released soon after and the convention continued. Rosemont Police interviewed hotel guests and employees, as well as employees at local stores which sell chlorine. These interviews and subsequent investigation did not result in any known suspects or charges.
On September 15, 2019, Milo Yiannopoulos announced his intention to attend that year's convention. After significant backlash from other attendees on social media, Yiannopoulos was swiftly banned from the convention the following day.
Locations, attendances, and charity donations by year
|2000||Arlington Heights, Illinois||473||$3,522||Wolf Park, Valley of the Kings big cat sanctuary, and Chicago House|
|2001||Arlington Heights, Illinois||511||$6,800||Animals for Awareness|
|2002||Schaumburg, Illinois||685||$6,088||Animals for Awareness|
|2003||Schaumburg, Illinois||800||$6,500||Animals for Awareness|
|2004||Schaumburg, Illinois||959||$7,000||Furry Friends Foundation|
|2005||Schaumburg, Illinois||1,066||$6,800||Wildlife in Need|
|2006||Schaumburg, Illinois||1,422||$13,049||Safe Haven Wildlife Refuge|
|2007||Schaumburg, Illinois||1,690||$15,193||Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation|
|2008||Wheeling, Illinois||1,992||$15,000||Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy|
|2009||Wheeling, Illinois||2,040||$12,799||Kane Area Rehabilitation and Education for Wildlife|
|2010||Rosemont, Illinois||2,285||$11,300||Castaway Pet Rescue|
|2011||Rosemont, Illinois||2,600||$19,575||Animal Education and Rescue|
|2012||Rosemont, Illinois||3,216||$40,500||Felines & Canines|
|2013||Rosemont, Illinois||3,904||$28,000||One Tail at a Time|
|2014||Rosemont, Illinois||4,571||$31,446||Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary|
|2016||Rosemont, Illinois||7,075||$78,482||Felines & Canines|
|2019||Rosemont, Illinois||11,019||$224,704||Felines & Canines|
- Peregrin, Tony. "Fur the record". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
- "Police investigating chlorine gas incident at 'Furry' convention as criminal act". UPI.
- No Filta, Doprah. ""Furry" Fandom Fetishists Attacked With Chlorine Gas; 19 Hospitalized After the Hate Crime". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- Mazza, Ed. "Furry Convention Chlorine Gas Incident Sickens 19 Near Chicago". Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- "'Furry' convention disrupted as 'intentional' gas incident sends 19 to hospitals". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
- "The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention". Vice. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
- Dickson, E. J.; Dickson, E. J. (2019-09-16). "Furries Got an Alt-Right Troll Banned From Their Convention". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-11-20.