By Dustin Shrader
It is that time of year again! Southern Bears is back with its annual Atlanta Bear Fest dedicated to be full of more fun and fur than any bear lover can handle.
Founded some 22 years ago, Southern Bears Club’s ABF strives to set itself apart from other runs. Dedicated to providing a more laid back and sociable run, Southern Bears President John Beck says they work to keep things warm and friendly for all participants.
“As a club, we try very hard to make sure people are included and made to feel welcome. For many people in the bear community, this and other runs are a major form of socialization with others in the bear community. They get to see old friends they have known for years, meet people in person they have only talked to online and meet new people with whom they develop long friendships,” explains Beck.
ABF is fondly known for its safe environment where all bears can attend and enjoy themselves without a feeling of judgment or not living up to anyone else’s standards. It is also a sanctuary for someone who is not a bear, but a bear lover can participate and meet hot locals under certain circumstances they might not normally be able.
ABF 2015 is a four day event, taking place the weekend of July 2 – July 5. Held at the Courtyard Marriot in Atlanta, Bear Fest will include: “two open bars at the host hotel, three meals (South of the Border Buffet, Fruit Bar, Atlanta Eagle Island Cook-out) & Breakfast Buffet ($3 off coupon), pool parties with DJ Eric and complimentary soft drinks and bottled water for all pool parties.”
Unlike last year’s Christmas in July theme, this year’s Bear Fest will be taking you down “South of the Border,” very reminiscent of a “classic spaghetti western”.
Once registration commences, a meet and greet pizza party will kick off the jam-packed weekend before all bears and friends alike will be shuttled to The Eagle for “Bears in the Dark.”
An all day pool party with DJ Eric and an open fruit bar will keep things rocking through Friday, while Saturday ups the ante with a second DJ Eric pool party, the ABF photo shoot, “South of the Border” buffet, games at the pool and awards for “Best of Show.” Sunday wraps up the festivities with a Farewell Cookout at The Eagle.
Although ABF is a guaranteed “fun” time for one and all, Beck reveals its main focus this year will be to raise money for club events and local charities. The organization is currently working towards raising a $5,000 goal for Lost-N-Found Youth.