Portland – 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar, and some say the end of civilization itself. What better way to celebrate the occasion than to spend a beautiful summer weekend in Portland with the friendliest bears on Earth? Join the Oregon Bears for BearTown 17: Bearpocalypse!, June 7th-10th.
BearTown is an annual weekend when bears from all over the country (and some foreign countries) come together to celebrate Bear culture, have a great time, and raise money for a worthwhile charity.
BearTown is a great time to make new friends and renew old friendships in an exciting city where everyone seems to be a Bear. Organizers repeat some events that prove to be the most popular each year, but add new activities just to keep things that much more fresh and exciting. They have more parties, more men, and more activities to choose from. Your weekend package includes more activities and entitles you to more privileges and discounts. It’s all bigger and better than ever. But organizers are still limiting numbers so that they maintain the warm and friendly atmosphere the Oregon Bears are so famous for.
Some of the favorite events of past years are returning (Cheers, Cheese & Chocolates; Shed the Shirt T-Shirt Exchange). Some events have new venues (Bears at the Baths moves to Hawks, Portland’s new bathhouse; the UnderBear Dance moves to a new venue that’s more private).
New activities include a tour of local distilleries, a walk across the river to Portland’s Saturday Market with its arts and crafts and great food, and an exotic and erotic after-hours Mayan-themed party where a virgin may be sacrificed. (Wish them luck finding a bear who’s a virgin, right?)
Ahoy! BearTown 17 coincides with Fleet Week and the Portland Rose Festival. Naval vessels from the United States Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy arrive from around the world for a four-day visit to the City of Roses. Say “hey, sailor” to some guys who might need a furry bear to join them as they watch the dragon boat races on the Willamette River.
As always, sailors in uniform who are in town for Fleet Week (21+) get in free to the dances on Friday and Saturday nights.
Portland is known for its fine and inventive food, and BearTown 17: Bearpocalypse will showcase the talents of our local chefs. From lunch at the largest of Portland’s food cart pods to brunch in the Columbia Gorge, and several meals in between, you’ll be rubbing your furry belly with delight.
Did you know that Portland elected the first gay mayor of a major American city (Mayor Sam Adams)? Within three weeks of the February 2004 decision by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Portland’s Multnomah County began doing the same. Portland continued to issue licenses for more than a month after San Francisco stopped. Although the courts eventually voided the licenses, the ball was rolling. A domestic partnership bill was quickly introduced in the state legislature and passed. Basic Rights Oregon expects marriage equality to be on the ballot in 2012 if it has not already been decided by the courts.
There is no “gayborhood” in Portland. LGBT folks live in neighborhoods with everyone else and enjoy strong legal protections. They mix freely in bars, restaurants, schools, and workplaces. Like most cities, bars are concentrated in the downtown area, but they stretch across the river and all the way up to North Portland, where the Oregon Bears’ home bar, the Eagle Portland, is located.
Portland is home to Darcelle, a drag queen who has been entertaining at Darcelle XV Showplace for over 40 years.
The Portland LGBT community enjoys its own annual film festival as well as a huge Gay Pride parade and two-day festival on the Willamette River waterfront.
“The Little Bear Run with the Big Bear Run Feel” Has a charitable purpose too.
Bear Town is sponsored by the Oregon Bears, a social, fraternal, and charitable organization, and the largest bear club in the United States. This year the BearTown committee selected the Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition (OSSCC) as beneficiary of the funds raised from our BearTown events.
OSSCC “seeks to create safe schools and communities where every family can belong, every educator can teach, and every child can learn regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.” This wonderful community-based group prepares people from rural, suburban, and urban areas of Oregon to put together and present workshops that address bullying and other health and safety needs of LGBT youth and families. Visit their web site, www.OregonSafeSchools.org, to learn more about their activities.
Watch for opportunities throughout BearTown weekend to help the Oregon Bears raise funds for this fine organization: raffle ticket sales, direct donations, silent auction, a massage therapist, the Bear Market, and many more events contribute directly to OSSCC and its work.
To register go to www.BearTownWeekend.com