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.