That rumbling you're hearing in the distance isn't a stampede, it's the sound of hirsute gay men from over 27 states and four nations converging on Portland for BearTown 2009. Unlike the looming threat of the polar bear, these gentle giants are here to show Portland that you don't have to starve yourself or live at the gym to celebrate LGBTQ Pride.
Kicking off on Thursday, June 4 and roaring strong throughout the rest of the weekend, the Bears will be partying like it's 1970 at 22 events around town, tearing their way through both traditional Bear stomping grounds like the semi-infamous Eagle Portland in NoPo, and to clubs better known for their thumping music and drink specials, like CC Slaughters in Old Town.
Though described as a "big-ass gay social event for hairy men" by BearTown organizer Don James, the Bears are well known for providing an inclusive atmosphere for anyone who thinks a dance floor full of gyrating, sweaty, hairy men is a little slice of heaven. So, gentlemen, feel free to skip shaving this weekend. Ladies, give your tired and weary pits a break. Hipsters, pretty much just keep doing what you've been doing. "Portland in general is a very embracing, all-inclusive city," says Al Munguia, general manager of the Jupiter Hotel and a BearTown organizer. "And so are the Bears."
And there's no need to feel guilty about dropping your hard-earned paycheck. If there's one thing that Bears are known for—besides worshipping Tom Selleck as a living god—it's charity. The organizers have set a lofty goal of raising $17,000 for Esther's Pantry, a food bank for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Speaking of food, this year's celebration will definitely help you pack on the pounds, between brunches, buffets, and Friday night's wine tasting at the Jupiter's Dream Box. So grab your lumberjack outfit, leave the Nair and deodorant at home, and get ready to rock the house with the Bears.