Midwest Furfest, one of the largest furry conventions in the U.S., will convene in-person for the first time since 2019. It will take place from December 3 to 5 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. Proof of full (not partial) vaccination is required to attend.
The event features furries in full or partial suits, Fursuit Dance Competition, Furry Variety Show, shopping at the Dealers Den, exhibits at Artists Alley, sales at Artist Marketplace, and the Art Show.
Last year, the pandemic forced the event to a virtual one.
"Following the advice of county health professionals, and backed by local, state, and federal law, the Board of Midwest Furry Fandom has agreed to require that all FurFest attendees receive all doses of an available COVID-19 vaccine by November 19, 2021," the organizers announced.
"All Midwest FurFest attendees must wear masks when in convention space or participating in indoor convention activities," they continued. "We recommend that attendees wear masks outdoors when maintaining physical distance is impracticable."
Organizers said they cannot allow persons who are unable or unwilling to get vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination to enter.
Patrons can show an original copy of their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination card or a photo copy loaded on to a mobile device, or digital proof through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Vax Verify
, CVS, Walgreens, or other vaccine passport app.
"Any FurFest attendee reasonably believed to have forged vaccine status credentials will be ejected from FurFest and referred to law enforcement," they said. "FurFest will press charges if invited to do so."
Organizers say that they can't guarantee the convention won't be cancelled.
The annual events draws as much as 10,000 attendees per pre-pandemic year since 2000. It has raised over $540,000 for various wildlife and animal related charities.
Beneficiaries in the past have been Felines and Canines
no-kill shelter; SitStayRead, a reading program for Chicago Public Schools stidents to boost reading skills with the attention of volunteer dogs
; Chicagoland Rescue, Intervention, and Support Program (CRISP)
which provides low or no-cost services to help Chicago pet owners keep their pets rather than surrender them to a shelter; among others.
Early bird pre-registration runs through September 30 at $60. This includes admission to FurFest and a copy of the Program Book and Pocket Program. Normal pre-registration runs October 1 to November 22 ay $65. At-the-door registration is $70.
Single-day attendance admission is also available: $25 Friday, $45 Saturday, $25 Sunday.
More information is available at furfest.org