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Lake Area Furry Friends (also known as LAFF) was a regional social group and mailing list focused on the northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and northwestern Indiana, including the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison metropolitan areas.
LAFF came into being in 1996 as a more regionally-oriented mailing list than its predecessor, the ChiFur mailing list, which was focused around Chicago. It had become the dominant furry group in the region and had branched off into cyberspace to LiveJournal and MySpace communities, moderated by ArtySkox and Ash M. Cairo respectively, to the Second Life group, founded by Sema JayHawk and helped moderated by Blazger and Steel the Warrior. Its main website was created in 1998 by Aureth on his Cornwuff Press site. Artemis took over as webmaster in 1999; he revamped and ran the site on catbox.com until 2007 when, under the direction of Ash M. Cairo, Kendricks Redtail and Zel, a new website was created using a wiki format, that was later redesigned and reformatted by Timoran.
Eventually, the community was based around the "LAFF mailing list," which was hosted at catbox.com by puma. The mailing list was primarily used to organize social functions, including two monthly bowling outings (organized by Timoran, Rayven Wolffe and Blazger), which featured karaoke and was followed by multiple after-bowling parties, including SliderCon (organized by Blazger), as well as monthly softball games in the summer (organized by Stevie Maxwell), and the annual trip to Noah's Ark Waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells (organized by Hakeber). The year culminated in a grand New Year's Eve party in northern Illinois. In past years, that's been organized by various furries, including Linnaeus and Riley West Wolf, but in 2007, the party split up into various parties, including two main parties located in northern and western Chicagoland. Numerous weekly events also take place, as well as one-off outings organized by community members. Many members of LAFF also volunteered their time for Midwest FurFest as staff members, gophers, or support their hometown convention by being a sponsor.
The Milwaukee Coffee meet was a furry meetup event that occurred every Thursday from 8 until around midnight at the Denny's just off of North Ave and Mayfair Rd, 11155 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI. Usually comprised of greater Milwaukee area furries, the event also attracts many Illinois furs thanks to its association with the LAFF mailing list. Attendance was generally small, ranging from 7-15 furs, but sometimes numbers can reach 20-30 attendees. The event itself was free but bringing a little cash for food or coffee was customary. Some people will don tails and collars for the event, and people have even shown up in fursuit.
- LAFF and LAFF-Announce mailing lists
- #LAFF, an IRC channel on Anthrochat
- LAFF's LiveJournal community
- LAFF's drama discussion group on LiveJournal
- LAFF's MySpace community
- LAFF's Second Life Headquarters