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Furry convention history project - can you help?

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Anthrocon 2007 Fred Patten says,

I am writing a history of all Furry conventions from the first, in January 1989, to the end of 2010, when there were 42 of them around the world. This is 182 pages; almost 45,000 words. Most fans think that it is already too long, so I have stopped with 2010. There were 43 in 2011, and over 60 today.

Here are some sample entries and illustrations:

Albany AnthroCon 1998 – Here Be Dragons The Omni Albany Hotel, Albany, New York July 3-5, 1998 (Attendance: 600)
GoH: Jeffrey A. Carver (s-f author), Jim Groat (Furry cartoonist); Fandom GoH: Dr. Samuel Conway
Charity: Whiskers, a cat rescue group ($3,092) Chair: Roger Wilbur (Aloyen Youngblood)

The activities of the first AnthroCon were repeated and expanded upon. There were special interest group meetings; panels on such subjects as anthropomorphic-animal advertising mascots and “Cleaning Up Our Past”; a puppet show by Steve Plunkett and a Story Hour by Uncle Kage; and a Saturday-night performance by Purple Nurple Live! The previous year’s Moreau Awards were not repeated; the committee considered them a failure since only about twenty members out of 500 had bothered to attend and vote. The 44-page Program Book had a cover by Jim Groat. The AnthroCon had over forty staff members; Roger Wilbur was the official Chairman (CEO), but most of the convention was coordinated by Jonah E. Safar as Organizational Director. The T-shirt was by Jim Groat. There was general agreement that a larger hotel was needed for next year.

ZonieCon 2001 Best Western Executive Inn, Tucson, Arizona October 19-21, 2001 (Attendance: 57)
GoH: Anthony M. Waters (s-f artist) Chair: Scott Malcomson

Furloween 2006 The convention was dedicated to the memory of Michael-Scot McMurry, the creator of the convention’s mascot, Zonie the Coyote, who had died in April. ZonieCon 2001 was billed as “The Con That Would Not Die”, since it was returning after a one-year hiatus. It also suffered from a hotel that did not know that it was supposed to have a convention, due to the staffer who had signed the contract having left without telling anyone. Fortunately, that hotel did its best to honor the contract. The main problem was that the hotel had chosen that weekend of “no business” to remodel all the rooms, and the workmen had already started tearing them up. The Best Western manager got two nearby hotels to accept the conventioneers as “overflow” guests, and cleaned up one of its own function rooms for ZonieCon. Since the rooms were going to be painted anyway, the fans were allowed to graffiti all over them with markers.

That was the last ZonieCon, though. Most of the attendees had been personal friends of the likeable and outgoing McMurry, and his lingering, painful death set a pall over the convention. Mostly, it was the result of Scott Malcolmson’s moving from Tucson to Phoenix. He gave other Tucson fans his permission to continue the convention, but none cared to do so; especially since Malcolmson had personally lost $600 on the last ZonieCon.

EuroFurence 8Furry Intelligence Agency The Jugendherberge Hilders-Oberbernhards youth hostel, Oberbernhards, Germany
GoH: Dr. Samuel C. Conway (Uncle Kage) Chair: Sven Tegethoff (Cheetah) August 15-18, 2002 (Attendance: 260, estimated)

Eurofurence 15 EuroFurence 8 had a full program of panels, workshops, and Special Interest Groups. The “Sweet Treats” workshop by Fjordwolf, on how to make tiramisu and cream cakes, was especially popular. There were two Internet Rooms, a Sponsors’ Lounge, and a Fursuit Lounge, in addition to the usual Art Show and Dealers’ Den. A frequent shuttle service was set up between the hostel and the nearest DB train station at Fulda, forty kilometers away (a one-hour round trip). The third DoPE puppet show was titled F.I.A. around the theme. “The president of the Furry Intelligence Agency decides to remove the perverted subjects from the furry fandom. Especially Poke the sex-crazed big-mouthed ferret is on his list. […]” There was a round-the-clock Video Room, a Thursday afternoon barbeque, and campfires every night. The closing event was the Saturday night FurDance, with Karsten Auchter (BigBlueFox) and Loewi as DJs. 24 designs were submitted for the T-shirt contest, which was won by Philipp Peteranderl (Silber) and Vitani Da Real. Cheetah, Jumpy, and Tabalon were joined on the convention committee by Richard Wagensveld (Watani) and Maik Duismann (Kralle).

Conifur Northwest 2003 The Sheraton Tacoma Convention Center, Tacoma, Washington September 26-28, 2003 (Attendance: 523)
GoH: Grrrwolf (Furry artist), Chuck Melville (artist/writer)
Charity: Washington State Ferret Rescue and Shelter ($3,011) Chair: Shandower

Longstanding director Tibo stepped down to the head of Technical Services. The good news was that Conifur Northwest did not have to share the hotel with another convention this year; the bad news was that, since Conifur did not have the special circumstance of having an old contract to be honored, the Sheraton Tacoma charged its usual rates which were considerably higher. The hotel management was not as friendly as the Best Western’s had been; Tibo: “This was the hotel where we discovered why our contract needed to have a clause that the restrooms should remain open and unlocked, for example.” The Art Show auction brought $11,000. The Daily Howl newsletter was continued. The second Fursuit Challenge, to construct a ferret mascot, was successful. A Yiff: The Card Game was played for the first and only time. The 2003 T-shirt was by Grrrwolf.

ČeSFuR 4 Sluneční zátoka (Sun Bay) campground, Ledeč nad Sázavou, Czech Republic March 21-24, 2008 (Attendance: 74)
Charity: an animal rescue station in Pavlov, of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (about 12,000 Kč ($665))
Chair: None. Organizers (the orgateam) included Altair, Ihaha, Mbili, Mysh, Peso, RustyFox and Xkun.

Events included the previous, plus an Art Show, a photo contest, a DDR tournament, a Fursuit Show, a band concert by The Puppits, and games inspired by TV game shows. The T-shirt was by Akela Taka and Janys.

This was the last ČeSFuR to take place in the spring. Because of particularly cold weather and related discomfort experienced by con-goers in 2008, a decision was made after that year's con to move the event to summer months, and permanently switch to hotel accommodation.

Kemocon 2 Exhibition room 4F, Kawasaki City Industrial Promotion Hall, Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan
Organizers: KemoConProject (Muddyfox, Altia, Ryoga, OTK, PANJA!, Leon) November 28, 2009 (Attendance: 220)

Kemocon 3 Kemocon 2 was organized like a traditional convention. There were no memberships, but there was a ¥1,000 admission. 11:00 a.m., doors open. 11:30 a.m., opening ceremony and changing into Fursuits for entrance parade. 11:45 a.m., rock-scissors-paper tournament. 12:15 p.m., introduction to Fursuit characters (on overhead projector). 12:45 p.m., Fursuit Parade of characters. 1:15 p.m., group photo of Fursuits. 1:30 p.m., free time (socializing and lunch). 2:30 p.m., musical chairs. 3:10 p.m., dance party. 4:10 p.m., free time (relaxing after the dance). 4:40 p.m., lottery. 5:10 p.m., closing ceremony and opening of dressing room to change out of Fursuits. 6:00 p.m., room closed. There were almost 60 Fursuits in the group photo.

Mysteries remain

Many Furry conventions have been very helpful in answering questions, but some profiles are full of question marks. None have refused to participate, but some have ignored three or four e-mails. (With some, I am not sure I even have their correct address. Does anyone have an address for the discontinued FranFurences in France?). Others have replied that they are very busy, but that they will answer soon. After more than six months, I am not holding my breath.

Many questions are for things that happened at the conventions such as how much was donated to the charity and how many were in their Fursuit Parades, which could not be listed in their pre-con publications, and were not recorded in their records. Some outstanding questions:

Some conventions that I need more information about include CaliFur, ConFurence, Furloween, Mephit Mini Con, Morphicon, and RusFURrence. There are others. Please contact me at fredpatten@earthlink.net if you are interested in helping out.

Comments

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This webpage on Rabbit Valley and this one on VCL indicate the MFF2001 t-shirt design was by J. Willard (Jessica Williard).

Here is an archived report on Conifur Northwest 2002 by Alfador, which isn't specific but says: At the Sheraton, there were at least three other groups during the time Conifur was there. First off, there was a wedding party and some sort of bankers' convention, neither of which we saw very much of (at least I didn't.) But there were a huge bunch of short hockey players (elementary school age) who kept asking me about my tails and ears. Makes me wonder what they said to the fursuiters...

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I was not expecting any answers so soon! Thanks a lot.

Fred Patten

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There are some photographs of the Further Confusion 2003 fursuit parade here in the gallery of BoingDragon. Some costumes are partially obscured, so counting them will be left as an exercise for the interested student. :P

ETA: An archive of KinkyTurtle's con report on Conifur NorthWest 2002 also mentions the presence of a kid's hockey team (who managed to get on the wrong side of Jim Groat).

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Sorry, had to refresh my memory.
C-ACE 2005, the shirt art was by Loopy (Andrew Pidcock), who was also the GoH for that year

Feli
-----
Chairperson/Président, What The Fur? - http://whatthefur.ca
-----
http://thewarren.ca for opinion and blog

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Are you sure that was C-ACE 2005? WikiFur records Andrew Pidcock as the GOH two years later, in 2007.

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Actually, you're right, I was thinking the wrong year :P I had to go through my email archives.
GoH and Shirt was Cara Mitten! Brown shirt that year.

Feli
-----
Chairperson/Président, What The Fur? - http://whatthefur.ca
-----
http://thewarren.ca for opinion and blog

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Since Eurofurence is mentioned, would Confuzzed be by any chance? I may not have been to the convention between 2008 and 2010 but considering that and the defunct RBW are two of three UK furry conventions would be worth a mention.

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Yes, and ConFuzzled and RBW are two of the conventions that I need some information about. Any help will be appreciated.

RBW 2006
MV Erasmus, River Thames, London, England, U.K.
December 3, 2006
Attendance: 85 (estimated)
GoH: Matthew Wayne Davis (2, the Ranting Gryphon)
Chair: Rapido

RBW was the second 2006 Furmeet that turned into a convention. RBW started in 1998 as a Christmas banquet for the LondonFurs. By 2006 it had grown so large that chairman Rapido turned it into a formal boat excursion on the Thames, originally called the London Boat Party. RBW stood for Red, Blue & White.

The boat party aboard the MV Erasmus, one of the largest party boats on the Thames, began after the traditional LondonFur Christmas meet. The entertainment included music and a rant by 2, the Ranting Gryphon. [Where was the Christmas meet?]

RBW 2007 – Furs in Black
The Calico Bar pub, Royal National Hotel, London, England, U.K. in the daytime, the Golden Jubilee boat party on the River Thames on Saturday night
December 1-2, 2007
Attendance: 242
GoH: Matthew Wayne Davis (2, the Ranting Gryphon) (Entertainment Track), Fatkraken (Fursuiting Track), Cassandra Gunn (Ultraviolet) (Art Track)
Charity: Mammal Trust UK (£1,331.23)
Chair: Rapido

The attendance included 197 on the boat party. American Furry notables included Timothy Albee, Steve Gallacci, Lance Ikegawa, and Uncle Kage. The events included Saturday morning and afternoon workshops and games (including the Fursuit Commonwealth Games), the Saturday evening boat party including a late night rant by 2, the Ranting Gryphon, and a 11:30 p.m. Fursuit Walk; and a Sunday afternoon Fursuit performance, a Treasure Hunt, and the Charity Auction. The donation to the charity included both the auction and a percentage of the convention store sales.

The late night boat party was reported as highly enjoyable despite a very choppy river. The boat returned to the wrong pier, requiring the partygoers (some in Fursuits) to walk back to the hotel.

ConFuzzled 2008 -- Fursuiting
The Manchester International Youth Hostel, Manchester, England, U.K.
June 20-23, 2008
Attendance: 136 (42 in Parade)
GoH: Karsten Auchter (BigBlueFox; German Furry artist/Fursuiter)
Charity: The Badger Trust
Chair: Mike Francis (FurbleFox)

Arguably the first British Furry convention, ConFuzzled was organized starting in 2005 by FurbleFox and a committee of BritFurs who felt that it was time for British Furry fans to have a regular convention. There was a full range of panels, workshops, Art Show, Dealers’ Den, dances, a Pawpet show, and games. BigBlueFox conducted a cinematic workshop on How To Film Furries. Unique events included the Pub Quiz, the Frankensuit where contestants are given Fursuit materials and have one hour to construct a suit, and MotorFurs where attendees show off their vehicles. Memberships were £170. The permanent mascot is Brok the Badger, designed by Josef Zsapka (Tabbie). [How much was raised for the charity?]

RBW 2008 -- The Masters of Alchemy
The Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, London; and the Saturday evening boat trip up and down the Thames on the MV Erasmus
November 27-30, 2008
Attendance: 290
GoH: Timduru (Fursuiter), Zen (artist), Sven Tegethoff (Cheetah) (EuroFurence chair)
Charity: The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (£1,100 estimated)
Chair: Rapido

The Fursuiting events went well, but non-Fursuiting events at the hotel were described as disorganized and chaotic. The boat party was a success, despite having its pickup location changed at the last moment. The hotel staff was described as uncooperative and surly, and the hotel had many non-fan guests who complained about the Fursuits. RBW 2008 operated at a loss that was covered by private donations.

ConFuzzled 2009 – Victorian Era England
The Manchester International Youth Hostel, Manchester, England, U.K.
May 22-25, 2009
Attendance: 182
G-o-H: Tabbiefox (Furry artist), Cheetah (EuroFurence chairman)
Charities: The Badger Trust, Manchester Dogs Home (£2,000)
Chair: Mike Francis (FurbleFox)

The second ConFuzzled repeated many of the events of the previous year, and added extra gaming events, an anime talk, and a writing workshop. There were over 40 events, including the first UK Pawpet Show, a cartoon workshop led by Tabbiefox, and a talk by Cheetah on how to run a convention. The Pawpet Show featured an original story, “The Great James Mountbatten-Windsor’s Magnificent Zoological Extravaganza; or, The Mancunian Play”, with custom-built puppets. [Was there a Fursuit Parade, or a T-shirt?]

RBW 2009 – Good Vibrations
The Britannia International Hotel, Canary Wharf, London; and the Saturday evening boat trip up and down the Thames on the MV Erasmus
October 30 – November 1, 2009
Attendance: 226
G-o-H: None, but “Specially invited attendees” were Markus Kalkbrenner (Atalon Deer, Fursuiter), Fatkraken (Fursuit maker), KaputOtter (Furry artist), and Sketchkat (Furry artist/Fursuiter)
Charity: UK Wolf Conservation Trust (£1,868.45)
Co-Chairs: Robert Barnes (tryst_fel_cath), kittiah, miyabisan

The convention’s acronym was officially changed from Red, Blue & White to Rather Brilliant Weekend. It featured 33 events (unnamed).

ConFuzzled 2010 - Science
The Britannia Country House Hotel, Didsbury, Greater Manchester, England, U.K.
May 7-10, 2010
Attendance: 346
GoH: TaniDaReal (German Furry artist/Fursuiter)
Charity: Wildlife Heritage Foundation (£5,248)
Chair: Matthew Hood (Matt Lion)

The attendees came from 17 different countries. Many events were based on the Science theme, including a talk by a physicist from the Large Hadron Collider. There were Furrylmpics, Fur-e-okie, and a WikiFur pub quiz contests. The highlight of ConFuzzled 2010 was the charity auction. The opportunity to feed wild cats in a non-public reserve located in Kent went for £550. The final item was a tablecloth that TaniDaReal had drawn a picture on. Bidding started at £50, and got into a bidding war between Beshon and staffer Colifox. Beshon got it for £2,000. [Was there a Fursuit Parade? How many were in it? Was there a T-shirt?]

RBW 2010 – Space Cowboys
The Britannia International Hotel, Canary Wharf, London; and the Saturday evening boat trip up and down the Thames on the MV Erasmus
November 5-7, 2010
Attendance: 216
Charity: Sled Dog Welfare (£6,396.90)
Co-Chairs: Robert Barnes (tryst_fel_cath), kittiah, miyabisan

This was the final RBW. Due to the competition of other Britfur events, it was announced in February 2011 that the convention part of RBW was being cancelled but that the boat party would remain. In July it was announced that the MV Erasmus was not available for late October or November. After that, the organizers became involved in other activities. [RBW 2010 events? Were there any G-o-Hs?]

Fred Patten

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For Confuzzled 2008, the amount raised for charity was £1,610 based on this forum post from 2009. If anyone has a copy of the Confuzzled 2012 conbook on hand they can verify the amount because I know there was a two page spread containing the location, attendee count and the charity raised amount for each Confuzzled year to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of the con.

I'm also certain that there was a T-Shirt for Confuzzled 2010, since the 2013 convention still had a few shirts from that year on sale.

That's all I can give at the moment.

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This helps; thanks. I hope that someone does have that ConFuzzled 2010 T-shirt, or information about the 2009 ConFuzzled Fursuit Parade.

Fred Patten

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Hello!

I need to research some of these missing bits of information in our older records, but I am certain that I can dig some of it out for you. Unfortunately I have a memory like a sieve - would it be possible if you could send me a quick mail to mattlion@confuzzled.org.uk with a list of the bits of data that you still need?

Regards,
Matthew "Matt Lion" Hood
ConFuzzled Chairman

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Surely. I am also sending you my entire convention history. If you see that my ConFuzzled profiles are missing any other details than what I have questions about, please let me know.

Fred Patten

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I would like to thank all of the people who are sending me information to turn some of my questions into answers -- especially Higgs Raccoon, who keeps coming up with new details. My 182-page history is now 184 pages because of all the new information. The name of a convention chairman here; the name of a con's T-shirt artist, or how much the charity donation was, there. It all helps. Thanks a lot!

Fred Patten

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T-Shirt for MFF 01 was by GOH Jessica Willard. http://us-p.vclart.net/vcl/Artists/J-Willard/jw-scrcle.jpg

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Furry Spring Break's Charity Auction brought in $600. This was split with the animal charity Megaplex still carries and one of the dealers who had some medical issues at the time. (Name escapes me) Auctioneer was Draconis, His first furry con.

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Thanks for the added FSB Charity Auction details. The history is now up to 195 pages.

Fred Patten

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Wish your project success, always good to have information on our history down on paper so it doesn't get lost or twisted by faulty memory.

Hopefully if you deem your project a success you'll continue with adding post-2010 conventions as well :)

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Wow, very cool project Fred. What's the end goal? A web archive, or some form of publication?

I have put out some very casual notices that I'm seeking publishing projects to invest in, with my business as partner/distributor. Specifically, stuff not covered by other fan publishers who specialize in fiction. This could be a good example. Whether interest may justify cost of marketing a product is another matter, it depends, but it's cool anyways.

I'm shooting you a quick email about another publishing project.

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It has grown so large that I am now thinking of a reference book, probably from some academic press, for sale to college and university libraries. I asked FurPlanet Publications if they might be interested. They said no; that while it does sound very worthwhile, it does not sound like the average fan would want to buy it (I agree; it would have to cost $20 or more, even without illustrations), and FurPlanet is not set up to advertise to or reach the academic reference book market.

Yes, so far everyone agrees that the biggest problem would be marketing such a book to the right buyers, which are probably academic reference libraries.

Fred Patten

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Those are one of my specialties- you'd be surprised what people want beyond library collecting. Given the right presentation as subculture studies, there's all kinds of interest as cultural criticism. Cool and weird and edgy qualities matter (not trying to sound shallow, it's late and I don't have better words.) To be honest, I suspect that this would be taken as too "dry" by readers with too short attention spans, and not enough respect for your earned wisdom. But, if you make it exist, it can be a good resource to build more work with that kind of appeal.

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If I remember correctly the "other convention" conifur NW had to share a hotel with was actually a fancy wedding.. I think?

Darn my long term memory, I know I was there.. :)

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People need to stop making the things that God made into bad things. Granted, one must not think about it all the time, but for God's sake, a kid seeing sex is not like giving an innocent kid a loaded colt 45 to play with. They are not the same, and yet people act like the nude form or the sight of sex is equal to doing that. People, get a grip.

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About the author

Fred (Fred Patten)read storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics

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