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Annual Atlanta Bear Fest comes out of hibernation

2012 Atlanta Bear Fest

Leave the lions and tigers at home July 6-9; it’s all about the bears at the 2012 Atlanta Bear Fest.

Pool parties, live music and bar nights are among the event’s highlights according to John Beck, president of Atlanta’s Southern Bears, who have held an Independence Day Weekend gathering for hirsute men and their admirers for “many years” now.

The event — a bigger, hairier version of the more mainstream circuit party, often called a “run” — was known as “Bear All,” before the Southern Bears took a hard look and a one year break before renaming it Atlanta Bear Fest in 2009.

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Bear Necessities: An insider’s look at an atypical gay culture and community

Atlanta's Bear community

It’s 7 p.m. on Friday at a strip mall Starbucks in Tucker, Ga.

There are eight men gathered around a table wearing an eclectic mix of standard wardrobe choices. Several look like they could be on their way to a golf course, others are more casual in jeans. One looks like he might be headed to a cruise ship after finishing his iced coffee.

The youngest is in his 20s, the oldest in his 50s, and though they’re all what you might call “stout,” their builds vary from husky to just plain big. They gather three or four times a month, and tonight happens to be coffee talk and dinner. You can tell they’re close, quickly playing off each other’s jokes and poking fun in ways only friends can.

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Bears! Oh, my…

Southern Bears host monthly meeting tonight at Amsterdam Atlanta

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Southern Bears beer bash for charity

Southern Bears is hosting a charity drive tonight at F.R.O.G.S. Cantina to benefit Jerusalem House’s General Resident Program.

Jerusalem House provides housing for homeless and low-income individuals and families affected by HIV / AIDS.

The group will collect non-perishable food items, paper plates, napkins, toilet paper, towels for donation. Southern Bears will also accept a monetary donation that will be used to purchase much needed items. There will be a bin outside of F.R.O.G.S. for collection.