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Like the title says, Furry Fiesta 2014, the first Furry convention at the Hotel Intercontinental Dallas, made lots and lots of people happy. Going by your feedback, tweets, and con reports, we’re glad we could bring you the convention we imagined over a year of planning. Blotch and BBF were a joy to work with, our musicians delivered great sound, and our new and admittedly experimental panels went awesome. We have a fantastic staff to thank, but beyond that we must acknowledge the wonderful response and participation of the community we serve. Furry really is a family.
Our biggest number to report this year is $19,000 (we round up!) – the amount we’re excited to deliver to our dear charity, The Center for Animal Research and Education. We fed many a cat this weekend. With attendance of 1,884, MANY of you from lands outside our Texan borders, we experienced a phenomenal 22.5% growth rate. We’re not sure how long the attendance of Furry Fiesta can keep up with the GDP of China, but clearly we have a lot of staff expansion to work on this year. We expanded staff to just over 80 brave souls, and again we felt like we could use more. We expect to grow our small army to 110 for 2015, and if you’re interested please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t thank the hotel enough for giving us a chance. This is the first fandom convention the Intercontinental has hosted in over half a decade, and it held up phenomenally. There were the bumps that we expected, moving more people in more unfamiliar territory, getting used to new floor plans and new systems, but our staff responded where we had control to do so. For a convention that nearly doubled in size over the last 3 years, the hallways felt expansive and open. Kempi’s was great fun, and our panel attendance counts were high. At first I was worried things looked sort of empty, but it’s just because there’s SO much room. I’m hearing a lot of comparisons to FC’s Double Tree hotel, except bigger. We expect more growth going forward, and I think this hotel is ready for it. And after having been in there for a year, I think we’re more prepared as well. As a bonus? Not being so cramped may have contributed to a markedly lower rate of con crud!
A big thank you to the attendees for taking care of our home – we had very few hotel related issues caused by membership. At one point a Sales Rep told me that we’re better behaved than most corporate groups. Let’s face it, we’re a lot more adorable, too!
We expanded staff by 33% to ramp up for the larger space, and it wasn’t nearly enough. We had 1 staffer for every 24 attendees, and we’re working to get that ratio down. Registration had an entirely new department lead, and he performed wonderfully. AV’s large staff was competent, talented, and Ratchet, Miz, Oddy, Firr, and the rest of the crew delivered crisp sound and dealt with issues as they arose, despite a challenging weekend including 7 stage using acts (6 musical!). I know our executive staff had lots of exhaustion after the carnival left town, but there’s a whole flood of ideas coming from our people. They’re engaged and ready to make next year run as smoothly as we enjoyed at the Crowne. Without a staff, there’s no convention. Without a convention, there’s no fun. Thank a Staffer today!
A heartfelt thank you to our staff and volunteers who sacrificed our time and energy to bring the masses such joy. I’m in awe of the dedication, passion, and work that quickly constructs and breaks down a 3 day happiness factory for animal people.
We’ve got a lot of tuning to do. If you have some feedback for making 2015 a better convention experience, please let us know on our forums here. Our staff just had a 7 hour meeting yesterday, so we’ve got a lot to work with. Only you have your own individual perspective though. Your feedback helps us make your convention better year over year.
Furry Fiesta is becoming a National convention – I met people from CA, WA, NY, FL, AL, OK, CO, and lots more states. Go back and tell your friends to come next year! And thank you for coming. Thanks for braving flights and hotel rooms and all that madness to come hang out with us. That’s a big complement. Lot’s of you expect to return! That’s the biggest complement.
And see y’all next year!
2015 Con Chair
Texas Furry Fiesta