29 Dec 2016
It is hard to take an experience like Midwest FurFest and put it into words. The reason for this is simple: Midwest FurFest 2016 is not made up of a single story - it is made up of thousands of stories which exceed the individual stories of our 7,075 registered attendees. Midwest FurFest 2016 has touched lives outside of our community as well, such as employees at local hotels and restaurants, residents of Rosemont and many parents whose children dragged them to their first furry convention.
The story of Midwest FurFest 2016 is also made up of countless stories which have not been written yet. Because of the generosity of our community, Felines & Canines, Inc. is estimated to go from saving hundreds of animals each year, to saving around 4,800 animals each year! In just 72 hours, we raised a total of $78,482.05, which is enough money for Felines & Canines to purchase the land needed for expansion. This donation will pave the way for countless animals to find their forever homes.
We would like to recognize everyone who organized and participated in the following events which helped raise money for this charity:
- $620 - The Midwest FurFest Poker Tournament
- $3,500 - The Midwest FurFest Charity Auction
- $3,000 - Foxes and Peppers After Dark
- $2,000 - Rucio, Willow Fox and the rest of the Donut Crew
- $65 - The Hyatt Regency O’Hare and MFF Hot Cocoa
- $5,340 - Table Donations
- $1,000 - Improv Charity Event
- $778 - Dragget Show Podcast
- $550 - Dragget Show “MISTAKE”
- $334 - Convention Horror Stories
- $915.05 - Closing Ceremonies Top Hat Donations
- $50,000 - Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc.
- $7,500 - ShadowKat (Personal Donation)
- $1,000 - The Midwest FurFest Furry Hockey Players
- $1,880 - Cash donations at Closing Ceremonies
This convention has impacted the lives of attendees in many ways. As Convention Chair for the past two years, I have been honored to witness this first hand. I have seen the shyest of attendees come to their first convention and meet other attendees who share their passions. I have watched them learn to speak up in a crowd, gain the courage to host a panel, volunteer in a department, and even improve their personal life because of their newfound confidence.
I have seen some members of our community build families, and I’ve seen others bring children into the world. Sadly, I have also struggled with the loss of those within our community. Midwest FurFest was hit particularly hard this year by the losses of JBadger, Thom, and Quasi Skunk. Their stories may have come to an end, but ours have been forever touched and improved for having known them.
However, the story that I am ultimately most proud of is the story of the convention itself. While the attendance numbers are a reasonable metric, they do not tell a very good story. At the end of the year, we don’t focus on being the biggest convention; our goal is to be your favorite convention. We want to be the convention you look forward to year-round. We want to host the most energetic dances, the widest selection of dealers, the biggest variety of artists and the most talented dancers. We want to provide the narrative that tells a story; a story which is not just about us, but about you as well! That’s the story we care about the most, and we hope it’s the story you’ll let us help build.
I know that I speak for our Midwest FurFest 2017 Convention Chair Kodi, as well as all of our returning and future staff when I say that we can’t wait to see you again, November 30th - December 3rd, 2017, for our next great adventure together!