A furry convention, also known as a conference, or just a con, is a gathering of furries, artists, and (usually) vendors at a central location. Conventions are usually held in midsize to large cities with airport access and stretch for three days or longer, typically over a weekend or holiday.
The cost to register for a convention is typically less than $50, but once one figures in the costs of transportation, lodging, and meals, attendees are likely to spend upwards of $400 to attend a convention. Some furries do not attend any conventions, while others may attend several each year.
Conventions vary, but typically one might expect to find several of the following:
- Some form of accommodation (which may or may not be included in the convention fee)
- A Dealer's Den/Artists Alley/gallery where artists display and sell their work
- Tutorials and workshops for those interested in arts and crafts
- Special events, such as a fursuit parade, dances/disco, masquerades, special interest panels, live animal demonstrations or a charity auction
Although it is not usually billed as one of the attractions, conventions are also a great way to get to know other members of the community, for varying levels of "get to know". Some furries have compiled a list of what they believe is essential to take to a convention.
Annual conventions tend to last approximately for 3-4 days, usually over a weekend from Friday to Sunday or over the duration of a holiday, in order to avoid disruption of job or school schedules for most attendees. Exceptions to this trend include:
- Further Confusion - lasts, as of 2010, from Thursday to the following Monday
- Eurofurence - lasts from Wednesday to the following Sunday
- Feral! - lasts for five days in early September
Various reasons for five-day conventions range from either catering to the largest-possible amount of arriving attendees (including those who may come well after the event has begun) or hosting the largest-possible amount of activities in the most logical amount of time.
Many of the larger conventions are organized as non-profit organizations, usually with a view to achieving tax-exempt status. Depending on the type of non-profit and the activities that they undertake, part of an attendee's memberships may or may not be deductible from their own income taxes as well. For example, Midwest Furry Fandom (Midwest FurFest) is a 501(c)(3) public charity, as is Anthropomorphic Arts and Education (Further Confusion). Conversely, Anthrocon, Inc. is a 501(c)(7) social and recreation club and does not qualify.
Regardless of status, the largest conventions regularly sponsor charities, either through provision of fundraising opportunities or outright donations of surplus funds.
Partially derived from the Anthropomorphic Fandom Convention Information Sheet:
- Furry convention at Wikipedia
- Coffee meet
- Con Crud
- List of conventions by attendance
- List of conventions by theme
- ConRunner - a how-to wiki for convention organizers
- Foamy the Squirrel's Rules for The Masses - flash movie with advice for anime con-goers
- Tips for Congoers on Strict Budgets
- Various perspectives on how (and how not to) run a con - mostly from the science-fiction community
- A Guide to Furry Convention Etiquette