Midwest FurFest

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Midwest FurFest
VenueDonald E. Stephens Convention Center
Location(s)Rosemont, Illinois
CountryUnited States
Most recent2022
Attendance13,641 in 2022
Organized byMidwest Furry Fandom, Inc.
Filing status501(c)3

Midwest FurFest (MFF) is a furry convention that takes place in Rosemont, Illinois, usually on the second weekend after Thanksgiving.[1] 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 13,641 attendees in 2022. As of December 2022, the 2022 event is the most attended convention in fandom history.

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.[1]

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.[1]

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 13,641 in 2022, making it the largest furry convention in the world by more than 3,900 attendees over the previous largest convention, Anthrocon.[2] It has helped raise over $767,000 for various charities.

Incidents and controversies

2014 gas attack

On December 7, 2014, a gas leak occurred at the Hyatt hotel in Rosemont, which was accommodating attendees. The hotel was evacuated, and 19 guests were hospitalized.[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. While these interviews and subsequent investigation did not result in any known suspects or charges, police continue to treat this as a crime.[6][7]

Milo Yiannopoulos

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.[8]

Locations, attendances, and charity donations by year

Year Location Attendance Charity
2000 Arlington Heights, Illinois 473 $3,522 Wolf Park, Valley of the Kings big cat sanctuary, and Chicago House
2001 511 $6,800 Animals for Awareness
2002 Schaumburg, Illinois 685 $6,088 Animals for Awareness
2003 800 $6,500 Animals for Awareness
2004 959 $7,000 Furry Friends Foundation
2005 1,066 $6,800 Wildlife in Need
2006 1,422 $13,049 Safe Haven Wildlife Refuge
2007 1,690 $15,193 Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation
2008 Wheeling, Illinois 1,992 $15,000 Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy
2009 2,040 $12,799 Kane Area Rehabilitation and Education for Wildlife
2010 Rosemont, Illinois 2,285 $11,300 Castaway Pet Rescue
2011 2,600 $19,575 Animal Education and Rescue
2012 3,216 $40,500 Felines & Canines
2013 3,904 $28,000 One Tail at a Time
2014 4,571 $31,446 Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary
2015 5,606 $62,021 Save-A-Vet
2016 7,075 $78,482 Felines & Canines
2017 8,771 $85,000 CRISP
2018 10,989[9] $94,000[10] SitStayRead
2019 11,019[11] $224,704[11] Felines & Canines
2020 Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Rosemont, Illinois 9,332[12] $74,303[12] Mission Companion Paw
2022 13,641[13] $106,683.66 The Street Dog Coalition


  1. ^ a b c Patten, Fred (3 January 2017). Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015. McFarland & Company. p. 170. ISBN 978-1476663814. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  2. ^ Peregrin, Tony (20 November 2019). "Fur the record". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  3. ^ "Police investigating chlorine gas incident at 'Furry' convention as criminal act". UPI.
  4. ^ Mazza, Ed (8 December 2014). "Furry Convention Chlorine Gas Incident Sickens 19 Near Chicago". HuffPost. 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. ^ "'Furry' Convention Disrupted by 'Intentional' Chlorine Gas Attack, 19 Hospitalized". People.com. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  8. ^ Dickson, E. J. (2019-09-16). "Furries Got an Alt-Right Troll Banned From Their Convention". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  9. ^ Midwest FurFest [@FurFest] (December 21, 2018). "While we don't consider attendance numbers to be the measure of success, we are pleased to announce the final attendance for Midwest FurFest 2018: 10,989 attendees. Thank you to everyone who attended this year, and we hope to see you again at Midwest FurFest 2019!" (Tweet). Retrieved December 15, 2022 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Midwest FurFest Raises $92,000 for SitStayRead!". SitStayRead. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  11. ^ a b "Thanks to all our attendees for making this possible — We couldn't have done it without you!". Facebook. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  12. ^ a b "MFF 2021 wrapup". Midwest Furfest. Retrieved 2022-01-23.
  13. ^ Midwest FurFest [@FurFest] (December 4, 2022). "Live from closing ceremonies: Thank you to our 13,641 attendees. You make this convention special!" (Tweet). Retrieved December 15, 2022 – via Twitter.

External links