From Alberta to Puerto Vallarta, we’ve tracked down the best bear runs across the continent. Whether it’s a super-hero social, bike meet, tubing down Florida’s waterways or just lazing at the spa, there’s an event to suit furry fellas of every shape, size and interest.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Late January (2017 dates TBA)
Those looking to crawl out of hibernation early should wing their way to Puerto Vallarta. Beefdip is a week packed with pool parties, dance events, and socialising. Also on the program are local favourites such as ziplining, an all-terrain vehicle tour through the jungle, a snorkelling cruise, plus themed dance parties each night.
North American Bear Weekend – Bear Comic Con
February (2017 dates TBA)
Be ready to geek out in husky company at this year’s Bearicon Super Heroes event. With three indoor pool parties, a DC vs Marvel party, a Sci-Fi vs Fantasy party, underwear party, comedy, the Mr North American Bear contest, speed dating, an expanded market, bourbon tasting and more, this is one of the continent’s biggest, most social and most varied bear events.
Texas Bear Round Up
March 10–13, 2016
You don’t need to go to New Orleans (or Sydney) to celebrate Mardi Gras. The bears of Dallas are bringing it to two hotels to celebrate the 21st year of Texas Bear Round Up. Strut your stuff at BearDance, or embark on one of the range of city excursions on offer, including the Texas winery tour, food tour, brewery tour and cigar excursion, or hop your way around Dallas’ gay spas.
Bears, Bikers, and Mayhem
March 3–April 3, 2016
It’s not uncommon for bear events to have some leather scene crossover, but no event brings them together quite like Bears, Bikers, and Mayhem, which enters its sixth year in 2016. It offer is a wide range of social events, dance parties, a cigar party, play space, vendor market, motorcycle ride, pool party and more. Recommended more for the kinky bear, it’s a must-visit for fans of bikes and fur.
Bears in the City
May 27–30, 2016
Coinciding with Chicago’s famous IML, the timing of this plus-size bear bash is either convenient or problematic, depending on how you look at it. The program, however, offers plenty of flexibility, keeping the focus on themed parties, a sauna afternoon, a trolley tour of Chicago plus late hospitality for those who want to chat away til dawn.
Atlanta Bear Fest
July 1–4, 2016
Southern Bears kicks open the doors on its friendly community over July 4 weekend. This bear run includes open bars, pool parties, and more. Previous themes have included South of the Border, Xmas In July, Roman Holiday and Break Out!
Bear Week Provincetown
July 11–19, 2016
Cape Cod’s hairiest week is nine days and nights of pool and dance parties, beach gatherings, a yoga program and a healthy smattering of leather events. Local bars, clubs, restaurants and other businesses come together to create an unforgettable week of entertainment, parties and food. If you’re craving more off season, return on Halloween for Spooky Bear.
Bears on the River
July 28–31, 2016
A potential tourist attraction in its own right, this unique event organised by GatorBears sends bears from across the continent tubing down Florida’s Ichetucknee River. Participants then splash down in the pool of the host hotel before hitting the bars after dark. It’s a simple, unpretentious weekend for those wanting a very different style of bear social.
Lazy Bear Weekend
Aug 3–8, 2016
Actually lasting close to six days, Lazy Bear Weekend enjoyed a touch of celebrity last year when it popped up on the Season 2 premiere of Looking. Lazy Bear Weekend offers a calendar packed with pool parties, winery tours, competitions, outdoor parties, art shows and drag entertainment, with proceeds going to LGBT community organisations around California.
Great Canadian Bear Weekend
August (2016 dates TBA)
Details are currently slim on Fellowship of Alberta Bears’ big event for 2016, its third year running. But the 2015 event coincided with Edmonton Pride, creating a full weekend of entertainment, parties and socialising in Alberta’s most festive city. The festival also staffed the host hotel and all events themselves in 2015, to ensure visitors felt welcome right from the get go.