Biggest Little Fur Con
The geography of furry conventions: how our biggest events tell us about the fandom's past, present, and futurePosted by zeldstarro on Thu 8 Dec 2022 - 00:21
Furry conventions are inherently tied to the places people are, and thus can give us both context about furry history and perhaps a glimpse into the future. Plus, there are quite a few misconceptions about the world that annoy me; this may help break a stereotype or two.
In October, Biggest Little Fur Con announced that its future 2023 convention will be held in the autumn season as opposed to its usual spring time schedule. This means that four of the largest furry conventions have now settled into time slots to correlate with the four seasons of the year.
The dates for these now include an early December gathering of Midwest Furfest in Chicago for winter, the spring event in Furry Weekend Atlanta, the summer with Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, and now the fall going to Biggest Little Fur Con in Reno. Given this chronological spacing there may be more ample room for these larger conventions to grow in attendance without stepping on one another’s toes.
Before 2022 these four conventions were the most attended furry conventions in the world. However, just this year Furry Fiesta was able to pass Biggest Little Fur Con sliding it back to be the 5th largest convention. The Texas convention having 5,494 this year and the Reno gathering at 5,234. Anthrocon, Midwest Furfest, and Furry Weekend Atlanta retain the top three positions.
The 4th Annual Good Furry Awards will be presented live for the first time on June 3 at Reno's Biggest Little Fur Con. The first three years of the awards were all done online, but the administrator of the awards, Grubbs Grizzly, felt it would be fun to do a live show this year.
The brief ceremony will be in the Ruby Room at 5pm on Friday night at the con. It will also be broadcast live on the Bearly Furcasting podcast.
This year there will also be a new Lifetime Achievement Award! This special award is selected by Uncle Bear Publishing and is in addition to our regular awards.
You can learn more by visiting the Ask Papabear website at https://www.askpapabear.com/
As governments restrict gatherings of people, furry conventions are being postponed or canceled. Here's a quick run down of events and their status as of December 27th 2021 20:30 EDT (UTC-4) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - updates to come.
A new section has been added for past events impacted for historical purposes. More information will be added to deal with virtual versions of a physical gathering if applicable.
Links go to statements if available, or to their Twitter feed or site. See also: Furry Fandom and the Internet forced back to roots by viral outbreak
Update 2021 Year End - As conventions start to open again, the overall list of cancellations and delays is becoming clunky. The final update will be today December 27th, 2021. Any future cancelations or delays will be their own newsbytes or articles in the future.
The term "ghosting a convention" is when a person attends and hangs around, but has not paid the organizers to do so. It’s seen as a major faux pas in the furry fandom due to the amount of time, effort and money their fellow fans put forth in order to put on the events.
Those who support the festivities through their patronage, therefore, should be praised for putting their time and money forth to support their gathering of choice. For the relationship between convention and attendee is symbiotic.
Instead, certain events seem to have started to shun the precedent of sharing how many furs attended their celebrations. Like a tree falling in the forest, the con did occur; but if you look back years from now, there will be no hard evidence of how many gathered. In essence, it is the attendees who have been ghosted.
Which is why I am writing this piece today, concerning a worrisome trend that a handful of events seem to have taken - including some of the largest events in our fandom. Conventions, as of late, have been trying to push away from publicly putting forth their attendance counts.
Update 5/24: An updated tentative count was released by BLFC in the comments below.
Update 6/16: FWA has provided their counts with the video of closing ceremonies in comments below.
Update 6/16: AnthOhio, which took place in late May after the article was written, has as of today not released attendance numbers on any internet media platform. They did release charity numbers of $13,000 raised.
In its 4th year of operation, Biggest Little Fur Con lived up to its name. When the count was tallied, BLFC 2016 had set another record, drawing 3,651 attendees; making it the largest furry event in the Western United States, and the third-largest furry convention in the world.
The Grand Sierra, location of the first Biggest Little Furry Convention (May 3-5, 2013), was packed with enthusiastic crowds of casino visitors. A person with free time or money couldn't avoid fun if they tried. It had restaurants, swimming, bowling, gambling, movies, go karts, and more attached to a large and classy hotel. Holding a furry convention there just made things extra outrageous.
Even with the planned options, the place offered good fun just for wandering around. A buddy and I wandered out a side exit that led nowhere special. On the way back in, I was stopped by a blonde woman who looked like a vacationing professional. She gestured with an astonished look, and asked, "What's all this about?"
"It's a theatrical thing. It's for a Furry convention", I said.
I explained about people who like role-playing and creativity. She asked about the costumes.
"No two are alike," I said, "I don't build them, but there's a lot of artists who do it here."
"You're doing pretty good at explaining this," she said. "I just don't know how to take it seriously from a big talking dog!"
"You're doing pretty good yourself," I told her. "And that's the point. Being silly!"