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Ahmar Adventures: Midwest FurFest 2021

I have been to several furry conventions before. Now with COVID-19, I was unsure how Midwest FurFest was going to handle this pandemic.

Midwest FurFest is the largest furry convention in the world. In 2019, they saw more than 11,000 attendees.

This year, they took place both in the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (DESCC) in Rosemont, IL USA.

MFF made it clear that everyone must wear a mask. Else, you might have to leave.

Same line con, plus vaccination check

My time at MFF begins with someone checking your vaccination card.

Compulsory vaccination checks at DESCC

Vaccination card? Check for me. Once approved, they gave me a green wristband like this:

A green paper wristband writing ‘Vaccinated’ on it.

Now, time to officially register. After I show the volunteer at the registration entrance that wristband, they let me in to join the queue.

Linecon (aka long queues at registration) as expected

Apparently, during registration, they handled 900 attendees per hour at one point. Though there were some delays, everyone was served.

Still event-packed like pre-COVID times

Hyatt Regency O’Hare lobby

I know some might find this hard to believe, but for me, MFF feels cosy. Everyone gets along, no matter your own personal beliefs, everyone gets along and actually watches out for one another, despite the crowds.

I just wanted to add that everyone, even the fursuiters wore masks. There was not a single incident of anyone not wearing a mask.

Panels ranged from teaching mime for fursuiters, how to be a better author, artists and others like Lost Furriends was there to help those who lost someone.

If you could not find a panel you wanted to see, you really weren’t trying. They even had one for 1st-time fur con-goers – which there was plenty of this year.

Then there are the events more than just the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

They ranged from events like “Whose Lion Is It Anyway?”, an improved comedy show, Fursuit Games which had 80 fursuiters and was pure fun and Cassidy Civet’s performance both at the Furry Variety Show and their own concert. That is just to name a few.

MFF’s “Whose Lion Is It Anyway?” is based on its namesake TV show.

With over 300 Dealers and over 70 artists available, it was a place you were happy to spend your money.

MFF was also made or broken for 1 company that was there – Goal Publications. They did not comment on how well sales were doing. For if they didn’t do well there was a chance of them going out of business.

It was also a place for Ringtail Cafe to have what was close to the number one selling item of MFF 2021. The 1st Fox Dad book, which is a webcomic about a family of fursuiters. To quote their on rep, “Nearby everyone who walks by buys a copy”.

Confessions as a MFF gopher

This year was the very first time I volunteered at Midwest FurFest. It is the world’s biggest furry convention.

The volunteering process is simple. I first applied for normal registration. Then, I filled out a volunteer application form. I got a link to the MFF volunteers’ Telegram group at the end.

Did you know, they actually have an ‘online reserve’ for key volunteer jobs. I didn’t do that; I went to the volunteer office on day one.

The Volunteers sign greets incoming MFF volunteers, or “gophers”.

On site, I got things settled. They then gave me their blue-coloured volunteer vest. Off I go to where I’m needed!

That is the elevators – I went there twice. I could have volunteered more though. I really wanted that Gopher volunteer pin.

Now, what is that? Gophers, or MFF volunteers, get a free pin if they volunteer for five hours.

Ten hours or more, you get a Super Gopher pin. If you volunteer 12 hours or more, you get a lot more quirks.

A free regular weekend badge, a discount on a Sponsor or Shiny Sponsor ticket tier for MFF 2022, plus that exclusive Super Gopher pin!

If I got time, I will volunteer again next year.

What did MFF achieve this year?

MFF was indeed very fun, but like all good things, it had to end.

MFF raised $20,000 over the weekend for this year’s charity MCP Rescue + Outreach. During the Closing Ceremony, they raised an extra $10,000.

This year, they had around 8,900 attendees.

Midwest FurFest announced their next edition’s dates – Dec 1-4, 2022 – themed “Movie Magic”.


Edited by Pawsry Hamktxchuzhni

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