FA:United convention closes doors permanently due to COVID-19
Fur Affinity’s flagship convention, FA:United, announced that it would be closing their doors due to COVID-19, permanently. While many other conventions have ‘suspended indefinitely’, or ‘canceled for 2020/2021’, this marks the first convention to indicate a more definite suspension as a result of the pandemic.
FA:United had shifted operations out of New Jersey to Virginia back in 2016. This was a risky maneuver, since they shifted operations so far from their founding state. Furthermore, Fur’the More had shifted their operations from Maryland to the same area, making these the closest neighboring conventions in fandom history. However, they were held at different times of the year so they were not directly competing.
Unfortunately for the convention, they never were able to draw the audience they had at their peak in 2014. While there was a slight decline before the move in 2015, the 2016 move did create a dip in attendance of over 18%.
Their last gathering in 2019 shows that FA:United never got the opportunity to grow in their new home to surpass where they were in New Jersey. In 2018 and 2019 they were showing a chance of recovery. Had things not gotten thrown into chaos by the current situation, it would be a wonder if they could have recovered to become successful in their new home. However for FA:United, the timing of this upheaval couldn’t have been worse.
With the closing of this convention, it has made many wonder how many more of our gatherings of less than a thousand attendees will be shed from the fandom roster before humanity gets a hold of this pandemic.