Our final attendance for this year was 2,040, including 145 Sponsors and 55 Anniversary Sponsors. We would have had more of both types of sponsors but to be honest we simply underestimated the tremendous outpouring of support and ran out of the gifts that we had prepared for sponsors! If you were turned away, please accept my apologies, and I can assure you that we will attempt to do better next year. The total number of fursuiters in the Fursuit Parade was 357.
Our Art Show has 1,129 pieces entered by 81 artists. The totals from the voice auction and bid sheets were still being tallied at that time, but we were able to say with confidence that total revenues for artists were over $16,000. As is customary at Midwest FurFest, we were able to give artists their checks on the spot! (If you were not at Closing Ceremonies and sold any art, your check will be mailed to you.)
This year, we were so pleased with the generosity shown to our charity, Kane Area Rehabilitation and Education for Animals. Between the approximately $1,800 raised in donations at their table, plus $700 raised by the Charity Poker Tournament (which was won by Jaggers Pawtucket), plus $773 raised by Kage and 2 the Ranting Gryphon in an impromptu benefit performance on Saturday night, and a whopping $4,526 raised at the Charity Auction, $7,799 was raised for KARE. In addition, the board of Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc. (MFF's parent corporation) was pleased to be able to add a donation of $5,000 to this, for a grand total of $12,799!
Following this, your humble narrator failed utterly to retain his composure in announcing that I am stepping down as chairman in accordance with Midwest FurFest's tradition of a two-year term for chairmen. I was pleased to announce that Takaza J. Wolf would be taking over in my stead (I will be swapping positions with him, taking over the role of Hotel Liaison in 2010).
Takaza announced that the theme for Midwest FurFest 2010 will be "Chicago Blues" (Blues music, Blues Brothers...). Our first two Guests of Honor are Amber "Vantid" Hill and Kipper, with more still to come.
And then there was the question of hotels. For that, there was a video:
To recap: We will be at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. The hotel has 1,100 rooms (no more overflow hotels!) that were renovated last summer, a 24-hour shuttle to and from O'Hare International Airport, and 110,000 square feet of function space, compared to the Westin's 35,000 square feet. We have negotiated free parking in the hotel's 1,000-space parking lot and garage. Rooms are $124 per night and can be booked via the link on our website (www.furfest.org). Suite reservations will be made available sometime in the first quarter of 2010. The Hyatt Regency O'Hare is also home to Anime Central, a 15,000-person anime convention, so MFF is by no means the weirdest thing they'll see all year :-)
We are working on an online survey for everyone to take; hopefully that will be up by the end of the week (family holidays and all - we hope you understand). Watch here or in the MFF Forums for announcements about that.
And now? Now we are going to take a break from convention business, rest up, spend some time with our families and loved ones, and generally relax...before starting all over again in January!
Edit to add: here is a link the high-quality version of the video.