More than 5,000 people gathered in Chicago for Midwest FurFest 2015, a convention for "furries" – lovers of anthropomorphic cartoon animals, many of whom dress up in life-sized fantasy animal costumes. Members of the furry fandom often create their own "fursona" – an animal character. This avatar allows them to express characteristics quite different from their own personalities. About one in five adopt a fursona of a different gender – around 80% of furries are male.

Conventions like these offer furries and fans of anthropomorphic culture the opportunity to socialise. According to FurFest's website, the convention allowed delegates to "come together to celebrate... art, literature and performance based around anthropomorphic animals". There were lectures and art shows, as well as adults-only private parties for subgroups of the fandom. Attendees raised more than $60,000 for animal charity Save a Vet.

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Some 1,378 furries assemble for a group photo at the Midwest FurFestJim Young/Reuters
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A spectator gets a hug from an attendee wearing a fursuitJim Young/Reuters
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A man kisses a Furfest deslegate wearing a fursuitJim Young/Reuters
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A man is hugged by an attendee dressed in a fursuitJim Young/Reuters
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An attendee dressed in a fursuit sits in the lap of a man at the Midwest FurFestJim Young/Reuters
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FurFest attendees listen during a lectureJim Young/Reuters
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Spectators watch a dance competitionJim Young/Reuters
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Arron Jarvis is reflected in a mirror as he puts on his fursuitJim Young/Reuters
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Tabby Galloway looks at a FurFest attendee dressed up in a fursuitJim Young/Reuters
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Furries dance in the hallway at the Midwest FurFestJim Young/Reuters
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An attendee listens to a talk during a workshop at the Midwest FurFestJim Young/Reuters
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A furry plays the drums as he joins others playing a video gameJim Young/Reuters
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Fursuit heads are piled up on a table in a lounge areaJim Young/Reuters
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Midwest FurFest attendees gather for a group photoJim Young/Reuters
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A delegate in a fursuit looks at her phone at the Midwest FurFestJim Young/Reuters
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A delegate wearing a fursuit walks down the stairs at the Midwest FurFestJim Young/Reuters
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An attendee dressed in a fursuit waves down to others from a balcony at the Hyatt HotelJim Young/Reuters