Midwest FurFest 2015 was a convention that was held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois from December 4th to December 6th, 2015. Total attendance was 5,606, which included 1,378 participants in there very last fursuit parade… of course none of us knew this until the following year.
The convention’s charity was Save-A-Vet. Save-A-Vet is a military and law-enforcement working dog rescue and support organization. Through special agreements with military and law enforcement agencies, they take responsibility for dogs which, due to PTSD or training, cannot be adopted and would otherwise be put down. These dogs are trained, their disabilities taken into consideration, and they are paired with disabled veterans who can provide one-on-one attention.
I was at the closing ceremony when I heard this from the Save-A-Vet rep and wait to you read this. It seems Save-A-Vet was broke on the very 1st day of MFF. If it wasn’t for it’s volunteers who were willing to help and the support of MFF and the furries. They would have gone Out Of Business. MFF literally saved a charity.
Ever see a dance number that just blew you away this one did
I was there and on my feet for just over 2 hours, because there was no place to sit down.
Meanwhile at The Closing Ceremony
$62,020.71 was raised through various fundraising activities, including charity poker ($2,440), The Dragget Show ($104), Whose Lion Is It Anyway? ($648), Mystery Science Theater 3000 ($403), Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind ($460), the charity auction ($8,670), table donations of approximately ($6,000), and a donation from Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc. ($40,000). The charity auction saw $5,500 bid for a Blackhawks-signed charity hockey stick.
At closing ceremonies, a special auction was held for a “Dubious Raccoon” piñata based on Ursula Vernon’s 2005-era convention logo, which GreenReaper and Kira Tora had won from the charity auction. Alkali Bismuth acted as auctioneer and an additional $600 was raised for the piñata to be smashed open live, on stage, after closing ceremonies had concluded.
Initially, it was announced that “nearly $60,000” was raised for the charity at closing ceremonies. When someone from the audience asked how short of $60,000 the event was, it was revealed that another $400 would put the donation over $60,000. In response, attendees began to flood the stage, throwing down bills and coins of all denominations, to reach the total.
In case your wondering about “The Theme” this is when MFF decided No Themes which would be restored in a few years.
Here is what you all have been waiting for MFF Updated their Official Site yesterday LINK
2 Important things were posted.
We understand that there are many questions about this year’s event related to vaccination requirements, masks, social distancing and more. The safety of our attendees is our highest priority and our Health and Safety Department is working closely with our venues as well as state, county, and local officials to ensure the safest event possible. As this guidance continues to evolve in direct response to the pandemic and local conditions, it is too early to announce any specific policies. However, as always, Midwest FurFest will allow all attendees the option to roll over their registration to next year if they decide they are no longer comfortable attending. Please be sure to consult our refund/rollover policy for further information.
In short we still have not clear answer on Vaccinations and Social Distancing.
But here was one I even waited for WHEN DOES REGISTRATION OPEN!!!!
Sept 1, 2021
So why such a late date? This is only a guess but I think they want to match their policy with that of the local governments.
But as this posting nothing new has been added to this post, or their site. It’s just that a lot of us and I include myself went through literal HELL over the past year. There was a point I didn’t know if I was going to keep my job, let alone my apt. Oh yes on top of that my dog died of cancer. Then a good friend lost their cat to dental issues. Which is quite common in some breeds, then on top of that they got a new cat. Which ran away barely a month after they got it. Only to be returned this past Thursday, June 30. By the way of this young couple and the city’s Animal Control. It was picked up over 7 miles from there it escaped.
Both of us think there are more to this tail than we both know but the cat isn’t talking.
Either way I know by way of both social media and speaking to others that we all had a HARD TIME. A lot of us just want to have fun. I will admit MFF is usually the highlight of my entire year.
But like the rest of you waiting is hard, and being patient is hard for me. I am ready for when MFF goes LIVE, I plan on being a Sponsor once again, and so looking forward to my coverage, and what videos I can make. But there is a long way between July 3 to Dec 3 in fact it’s a 153 days, and at least 2 more months of Summer.
As you can see I am ready, now MFF the rest is up to you.
It is literally impossible to talk about MFF 2014 without mentioning the chemical incident. But more on that in a bit.
Midwest FurFest 2014 was a convention that was held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. from December 5th to December 7th, 2014.Total attendance was 4,571, including 1,132 participants in the fursuit parade and 186 staff members
Later on I met the idiot who did this, who told me not only they were banned from the hotel, but MFF and as far as I know they are still banned.
I could post more highlights…but what about the incident. The truth is I wasn’t there, I am a morning person by about 10 PM I start getting very sleepy.
But Later on I heard 2 stories from friends
#1 This friend was in Whose Lion, when the alarm went off, they waited outside for hours before someone had the idea to open the convention center. There they waited until 4:43 AM when they were told they could come home. Which was at 5:30 AM after recording the incident on the local news they went to sleep until that afternoon.
#2 This friend was up on the 9th floor and there room was near the staircase where this happened. When the alarm went off they hit that same stair, they also have asthma. They nearly passed out after they turned around, and thankfully was helped by other furries to get outside. Where they were rushed to the hospital where they wasn’t released until Monday.
To what they official account says:
At 12:45 a.m. on the third day of the convention, December 7th, Midwest FurFest’s primary hotel was forced to evacuate when somebody dropped a jar of powdered chlorine inside the building.First responders were called to investigate a noxious odor that was spreading across the ninth and eighth floor of the hotel, where a high level of chlorine powder was discovered in the air. The Rosemont Public Safety Department reported that the chemical was released from a smashed glass container containing powdered chlorine found in the 9th floor stairwell. Due to seasonably cool temperatures, the Hyatt and Rosemont Public Safety evacuated attendees, some in fursuits, to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Nineteen people were transported to nearby hospitals after complaining of nausea, dizziness and other medical problems. None were hospitalized and all were released. HAZMAT technicians decontaminated the area and after conducting several tests deemed the area safe within about two hours. People were allowed back into the building around 4:20 a.m.
A television news stringer arrived at the scene during the event and recorded footage of the evacuation in progress, which became the footage used in news reports around the world. News coverage of the evacuation began almost immediately, with two of Chicago’s 24-hour news radio stations (WGN-AM and WBBM-AM) mentioning it on the air within minutes of the evacuation beginning, initially as traffic alerts (due to the road closures caused by the emergency response) but quickly moved it into news segments as additional information regarding the scope of the evacuation reached their newsrooms. The incident was a lead story that morning during newscasts on almost all of the Chicago television stations, with WMAQ (NBC 5) and WLS (ABC 7) sending crews to the hotel for live reports. The incident also featured on an episode of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Normal convention operations and events continued on schedule, with the convention staff releasing an official statement about the incident and evacuation later on the day.
Vice News followed up with the incident in an article on February 12th, 2016. An incident report filed by the Rosemont Police Department shows the case was logged into the system on December 8, 2014, assigned to a detective on December 29 of that year, and closed on July 29, 2015. Detectives from the Rosemont Police Department declined to comment directly on the case, but reports they provided to VICE show that in the days following the incident, officers interviewed at least 30 hotel guests, more than 19 hotel employees, and a number of hospital workers, taxi drivers, and staff employed at local pool and hardware supply stores that sell chlorine. While officers investigated the whereabouts of several individuals, it’s unclear how many were considered suspects and during what time.
MFF Eventually released the following
At around 12:45 AM on Sunday, December 7, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare received a complaint of a chemical odor on the ninth floor. Following a 9-1-1 call, first responders determined that a container with a chlorine-containing chemical was broken there. At 1:10 AM the entire hotel was evacuated, first across Bryn Mawr Ave. in front of the Hyatt as per Rosemont Fire Department’s standard procedures, then when it became apparent that the wait would take longer the Stephens Convention Center was opened to provide warmth and shelter to our guests. A full HazMat response was called in at that time. In the course of investigating the scene, the Rosemont Police Department determined that this was “consistent with a criminal act” and began investigating it as such. This delayed allowing guests back into the hotel. Midwest FurFest was and is deeply thankful for the cooperation and patience shown during this time. At 4:21 AM the all-clear was given and we worked with the Hyatt staff to return all of our guests to the hotel in the quickest and safest manner possible. Rosemont Public Safety had reported that nineteen people who complained of nausea and dizziness were transported to local hospitals. Because they were transported after the hotel (including Hyatt staff) was evacuated, we do not have any identification of these individuals. Outside of initial first responders and assisting in the evacuation of our attendees and staff, Midwest FurFest relinquished complete control of the onsite emergency response and the subsequent criminal investigation. Midwest FurFest is forever grateful to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare for its amazing response and support throughout these trying times. In turn, we must thank the City of Rosemont and the brave emergency responders from throughout the surrounding community for their assistance. Our staff assisted authorities in their inquiries to our fullest capabilities and we encouraged our attendees to aid us in that process. At this point in time we are unable to comment further as this matter is a pending investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agencies. However, it is noteworthy that during this time of crisis we were aided by many staff members from other furry conventions throughout the world and attendees who volunteered their services to aid in the evacuation process. Midwest FurFest is tremendously grateful for their assistance and this only illustrates how supportive the furry community is towards helping one another. Though this unfortunate incident clearly impacted all of our attendees, Midwest FurFest was able to return to almost normal operations by Sunday morning. The furry community was exceptionally supportive of our convention in the wake of this incident and our resilient staff and remarkably understanding and sympathetic attendees helped us finish the weekend on many positive notes: Our charity, Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary, was able to raise $11,000 by charitable donations from our attendees and an additional $20,000 was donated from Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc. Our convention experienced our highest attendance to date, an estimated 4,600 attendees from around 15 different countries.
Midwest FurFest was able to provide almost 300 hours of attendee inspired programming. As stated previously we are unable to comment further on the incident this weekend and defer any additional questions to local law enforcement. We appreciate your inquiry and understanding.
I then conducted my own investigation and here is what I found through various sources.
Through what security camera footage that was available. They narrowed down the suspects to 11, including someone that was actually moving pool chemicals. Since they no solid evidence against anyone. The case was turned out to the feds and that is where it is currently.
To what happened after MFF, both the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the nearby convention center spent an entire year installing new cameras. Including new ones in said staircase, as well as installing a brand new system to handle pool chemicals.
If you know what to look for, they are fairly easy to see. I swear every square inch of all the public areas in the hotel are completely covered.
Out of all the coverage videos I could post and they are all available on YouTube. This one from Aberguine is the best.
Total attendance was 3,904, including 972 participants in the fursuit parade.
The convention’s charity was One Tail at a Time. One Tail at a Time is a a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue that serves to lower euthanasia rates in the greater Chicagoland area and provide education on the humane treatment of companion animals.
Through various fundraisers, approximately $28,000 was raised
This was my very 1st fur con ever, and I wish I could say things went well. They did for everyone else, and I put the full blame upon myself, I was still dealing with grief since my brother died 6 months earlier. The full details can be found in “Death and My 1st Fur Con” podcast. But everyone has to start somewhere, and I have been to every MFF since. Frankly am looking forward to the next one, fingers crossed this December.
Total attendance was 2,040, which included 145 sponsors, 55 anniversary sponsors and 357 participants in the fursuit parade
Through various fundraisers, including table donations ($558 on Friday, $734 on Saturday and $508 on Sunday), an impromptu show by 2 and Kage ($773), charity poker ($700), charity auction ($4,526), and a donation from Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc. ($5,000), approximately $12,799 was raised.
Notes about MFF 2009 from Wikifur
Midwest FurFest 2009’s theme was, “10 Years of Midwest FurFest”.
An experimental theatrical event – Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind – gained a positive reception. Who would be back for MFF 2015
At closing, it was announced that the convention would move to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois in 2010 it’s current location.
The Art Show increases the number of pieces (1129) and with a total of 81 artists, the art show raised $16,302.
On the first night of the convention, Nov 21st 2008, everyone from both the hotel and Convention Center were forced to evacuate after the fire alarms were set off, indicating a possible fire. After an investigation, it was found someone decided to smoke in their hotel room which was designated as a non-smoking area, unintentionally causing the smoke detectors to set off, which in turn set off the fire alarms in both venues. Everyone was eventually allowed back in after standing outside in the frigid 28 degree weather for up to half an hour.
Due to space limitations, the Artists Alley had somewhat fewer tables than were available the previous year. A lottery system, which had been successfully implemented the previous year and was similar to that used for Anthrocon’s Artists Alley, was used to distribute seats in the Alley.
The art show featured 1,066 works by 68 artists. 524 pieces were sold, with 53 going to art auction. Total revenue from the show was $22,928.
The hot tub was closed for a significant period, reportedly because some attendees decided to have sex in it. Hotel and convention staff were not amused.
As I was going through the photos I had to post this
Photo from an event they no longer do a Fur Pageant
Another thing you don’t see at today’s cons The Bulletin Board
Total attendance 1,422 up 356 over 2005’s gathering
213 participants in the fursuit parade.
The convention charity was Safe Haven Wildlife Refuge. Who provides wildlife rescue, veterinary care, direct contact for emergency care, referrals to other facilities, and community support and education.
Through various fundraisers, including the charity auction ($5,570), approximately $13,048.96 was raised.
Update: I am happy to report Safe Haven Wildlife Refuge is still in business