|First iteration||November 17-19, 2000|
|Organizer(s)||Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc.|
|Resources||Photos, videos, reports: Midwest FurFest resources|
Midwest FurFest got its start 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.
Thus Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc. was created and Midwest FurFest was born, to take place in November 2000, on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The parting was amicable, and Duckon lent a good bit of expertise and manpower to help make the first year of Midwest FurFest a success.
Since then, the convention has grown from 388 attendees in 2000 to 7,075 in 2016, making it the second-largest furry convention in the world. It has helped raise over $285,276 for various charities.
The official Twitter account of Midwest FurFest advises attendees to post on Twitter using the hashtag #FurFest, as many other conventions are abbreviated MFF, one of which takes place at around the same time. Previously, Midwest FurFest suggested using the #MWFF hashtag, for the same reason.
Midwest FurFest has called the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois home since 2010. Features of the convention include an Artist Alley, Dealers Den, art show, charity auction, dances (including a dead dog dance), the FurFest Lounge and Fursuit Green Room, fursuit games and a parade, opening and closing ceremonies, a photoshoot and a variety show.
Guests of honor
Each year, Midwest FurFest selects talent from within the community, with a focus on people who have not yet been recognized. These have included:
- 2000 - Robert and Margaret Carspecken, Rapid T. Rabbit, and Derrick Dasenbrock
- 2001 - Mary Hanson-Roberts, Jessica Willard, and Matt McCullar
- 2002 - Ursula Husted, Ysengrin Blackpaw, and D.C. Simpson
- 2003 - Thomas K. Dye, M.C.A. Hogarth, and DBruin
- 2004 - Ursula Vernon, ScribbleFox, and David Gilbert
- 2005 - Gene Breshears, Kenket, and Tincrash
- 2006 - Kyoht, WhiteyFawks, and Spunky
- 2007 - Chilly, Jill0r, and Will Sanborn
- 2008 - Lucky the Evil Dog, Darc, Gyrfalcon, and Foxfeather
- 2009 - For the convention's 10th Anniversary, all previous Guests of Honor were invited back.
- 2010 - Vantid, The Blue Hyena, and Kipper Otter
- 2011 - Rick Griffin and Thornwolf
- 2012 - FirestormSix, Miss Monster, and Nambroth
- 2013 - Chibi-Marrow, Silver Huskywolf, and Sonderjen
- 2014 - Lacy and CloudPouncer, D. Walker, and Sabretoothed Ermine
- 2015 - Ifus, Mahrkale, and Yonoa
- 2016 - Balaa and Bagheera, Betsy Beaver, and DrakonicKnight
Each year, Midwest FurFest selects a local animal-related charity to focus on. These have included:
- 2000 - $ 3,522.00 raised for: Wolf Park, Valley of the Kings big cat sanctuary, and Chicago House
- 2001 - $ 6,800.00 raised for: Animals for Awareness
- 2002 - $ 6,088.00 raised for: Animals for Awareness
- 2003 - $ 6,500.00 raised for: Animals for Awareness
- 2004 - $ 7,000.00 raised for: Furry Friends Foundation
- 2005 - $ 6,800.00 raised for: Wildlife in Need
- 2006 - $13,048.96 raised for: Safe Haven Wildlife Refuge
- 2007 - $15,193.00 raised for: Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation
- 2008 - $15,000.00 raised for: Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy
- 2009 - $12,799.00 raised for: Kane Area Rehabilitation and Education for Wildlife
- 2010 - $11,300.00 raised for: Castaway Pet Rescue
- 2011 - $19,574.79 raised for: Animal Education and Rescue
- 2012 - $40,500.00 raised for: Felines & Canines
- 2013 - $28,000.00 raised for: One Tail at a Time
- 2014 - $31,445.93 raised for: Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary
- 2015 - $62,020.71 raised for: Save-A-Vet
- 2016 - $78,482.05 raised for: Felines & Canines
Total raised = $364,073.81
- 2000-2001 - Robert King
- 2002-2003 - Aureth
- 2004-2005 - Takaza J. Wolf
- 2006-2007 - Linnaeus
- 2008-2009 - Duncan da Husky
- 2010-2011 - Takaza J. Wolf
- 2012-2014 - Perro
- 2015-2016 - Woody
- 2017-2017 - Kodi
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- Midwest FurFest official site
- Midwest Furry Fandom, Incorporated official site
- Midwest FurFest on Facebook
- Midwest FurFest on Instagram
- Midwest FurFest on Twitter
- Photos, videos, reports: Midwest FurFest resources