Why I’m Going Back to Bear Week for the First Time in Years

Bear Week
Credit: Ryan Shea

Bear Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts happens to be one of the largest bear gatherings each year. What started as a small group of guys getting together on the sunny beaches of Cape Cod many moons ago has turned into something so much bigger and greater that anyone in the LGBTQ community can enjoy.

A common misconception among gay men is that you have to be a part of a certain subset in our community to enjoy something like this. That’s not the case for Bear Week, as each time that I’ve gone I’ve seen all types of people gather at the legendary Boatslip for fun, food, dancing and more with little to no attitude exhibited.

The furry event takes place July 13 to 21 this year, where hundreds of bears and bear-loving people will descend on the enchanting island for something that will be truly extraordinary.

It’s an event I first attended in 2014 and 2015 after many years of going back and forth on whether or not I should go. Ignorance and being purely judgmental were the primary reasons as to why I said no for many years. That shifted the minute I stepped foot into Provincetown, where I was welcomed with open (and hairy) arms by several friends, old and new, for a week I still look back on fondly.

I’m finally going back this year after missing out on the most recent ones for a variety of reasons, none of which have to do with the gay world. But enough about me, here’s why you should go to Bear Week if this is something that strikes your fancy.

Eye candy. Woof. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You are more than likely going to see an assortment of men in little to no clothing the entire time you are there. For those of you who are more on the G-rated side of things, don’t go. The amount of beef that will be there is enough to turn any normal human being weak in the knees, this one included. Buckle up for a furry ride.

Taste of the town. The cuisine in Provincetown is diverse and delicious in its approach. Everything from dollar slices to tasty sushi and burger options are available at your disposal. Don’t feel like eating out? Head to the local supermarket and spend some of your time there showing off your culinary expertise.

You can go to Bear Week… and not go to Bear Week. Provincetown is pretty spacious. You can be there during Bear Week but not engage in any of their activities while still having a great time. Do some shopping, get a tan on the beach or rent a bike and explore the town that is.

Make friends that will last a lifetime. It can be very hard to be a social butterfly in an atmosphere like Bear Week if you are more on the shy/wallflower side. Guess what? You aren’t alone. I’ve met people from all around the world while there who I’m still very close to all these years later, where all you have to do is go up to at least one person and say “Hi”. It’s that simple.

Go with no judgment. Judgment holds us back in life. It’s makes us not want to enjoy things for the sake of being, well, ignorant. Take this event for what anything else is and just have a good time.

This is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other Contributing Writers.

What do you think?