Midwest FurFest

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Midwest FurFest
MidwestFurFestLogo.png
StatusActive
GenreFurry
VenueDonald E. Stephens Convention Center
Location(s)Rosemont, Illinois
CountryUnited States
Inaugurated2000
Most recent2019
Attendance11,019 in 2019
Organized byMidwest Furry Fandom, Inc.
Filing status501(c)3
Websitewww.furfest.org

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[edit]

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.[1] It has helped raise over $449,000 for various charities.

Controversies[edit]

2014 gas incident[edit]

On December 7, 2014, a gas leak occurred at the Hyatt hotel in Rosemont. The hotel was evacuated, and 19 guests were hospitalized.[2][3] Later, an investigation found a broken glass bottle containing a concentration of chlorine powder inside the building.[4][5] 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.[6]

Milo Yiannopoulos[edit]

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.[7]

Locations, attendances, and charity donations by year[edit]

Year Location Attendance Charity
Donation
Charity
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
2015 Rosemont, Illinois 5,606 $62,021 Save-A-Vet
2016 Rosemont, Illinois 7,075 $78,482 Felines & Canines
2017 Rosemont, Illinois 8,771 $85,000 CRISP
2018 Rosemont, Illinois 10,989 $94,000 SitStayRead
2019 Rosemont, Illinois 11,019 $224,704 Felines & Canines

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peregrin, Tony. "Fur the record". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  2. ^ "Police investigating chlorine gas incident at 'Furry' convention as criminal act". UPI.
  3. ^ No Filta, Doprah. ""Furry" Fandom Fetishists Attacked With Chlorine Gas; 19 Hospitalized After the Hate Crime". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  4. ^ Mazza, Ed. "Furry Convention Chlorine Gas Incident Sickens 19 Near Chicago". Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  5. ^ "'Furry' convention disrupted as 'intentional' gas incident sends 19 to hospitals". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  6. ^ "The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention". Vice. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  7. ^ 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.

External links[edit]