Arizona Fur Con is moving to October 26-28th for this year and we would like to take this time to explain why and plead our attendee base to help us not run into this issue again. For those who don’t want to read the long discussion, the short answer to why is, the hotel would not extend to us another year due to how our attendees treated the hotel and its facilities.
For those who would like the longer discussion and help us keep our new venue and dates please read on. The Scottsdale McCormick has been our home for the past 3 years and they have been wonderful to work with. Their event staff was one of the top ones we have ever dealt with. Over the past 2 years they have ran into issues with our attendees being rude to hotel staff, large/loud parties in rooms way into the night, vandalism of vehicles, people breaking into cars to sleep, and trashed hotel rooms. Unfortunately, they never conveyed any of this to us over the past years or we would have helped manage this so we are not where we are now (we even had a pre-con meeting with them and none of this was discussed on any year). All this information was given to us only after our 2017 show with the comment that they would not extend any future dates to us “Unless we could buy out the entire hotel, rooms and space” which is impossible. We tried our best to sway them back to give us a chance to show that we could help manage this issue, even having a face to face with the hotel senior management, but even after that meeting they were unwilling to extend any future dates to us.
This lead us to start venue shopping again, and again we found that here in the Phoenix market the name furry is not well received. We even used our contacts for Saboten Con to help us with the Sheraton brand and that resulted in nothing, and our main contact worked very hard to try and sell us to all the properties. In the end, we realized we needed to find a venue that is not privately owned and would accept us due to their policies to not discriminate. We reached out to the Mesa Convention Center, where we hold Itty Bitty, to discuss potentially moving there in November. They are a great group and our contact is amazing. She didn’t have any dates for us in 2018 with the less than year notice, but does have dates in 2019+. We knew their location would be a great space to grow into over the years so we asked them to help us with the adjacent Marriott to see if we could work on hotel room block as well as using their convention space (about 6,000+ sq. ft.) for 2018 and they were willing to work with us. Between the Convention Center and the Hotel space we will be more than sized for the growth that AFC saw last year and for future years. So, for 2018 we will be in just the Marriott space, but in 2019 and on we will be in both the Marriott and Convention Center space. A bonus of moving to October is we are out of the retail blackout dates, that was our biggest feedback since we moved to November.
This has been an endeavor and we realize just how much this Phoenix hotel community doesn’t want a furry event at their locations. So, we are asking everyone to help police and report any issues you see that could cause us once again to lose space at a hotel establishment. We are going to work with the hotel to setup specific floors for all our attendees and we will work with you to get a few rooms that can be party rooms (approved and reported) so that you can still have your fun and we can keep a venue for future years. Please, we beg you, help us keep this new location and venue by helping us keep this event fun, safe, and respectable as this is probably our last location in the valley we can run an event of this size for the furry community.