PHOTOS: “I’ve never felt more at ease around gay men as I have felt at Lazy Bear”

A group of hunky, shirtless men smile at the camera
Lazy Bear 2021 (Photo: Lazy Bear)

Lazy Bear Week, which takes place each year on the banks of the Russian River in Guerneville, California, is one of the best-known gay bear gatherings in the world. Unsurprisingly, its 2021 event, which concluded last Sunday, was quite different from usual.

Lazy Bear Week

Largest Bear celebration in the world

Three gorgeous men stand in the sun in the middle of a large crowd
(Photo: @adrianchang/Instagram)

For a start, it was only accommodating a fewer number of guests, and everyone had to show proof of vaccination. Events that normally took place indoors were all moved outdoors. Thankfully, it still proved a big success, with attendees new and old saying it seemed all the more special.

One of those returning was Danny (@dray_sf), who told GayCities: “It was great to be back. Things were a little different this year, being an all-outdoor event with strict capacity restrictions, but the magic was still there. The organizers and volunteers did a fantastic job keeping everyone safe and the newly added sunset tea dance was a big hit!”

A crowd gathers around a fire at a night party
(Photo: Lazy Bear)

An event spokesperson said around 1,500 took part in this year’s event across the week. Proceeds from ticket sales go to the non-profit grassroots fundraising organization.

Four volunteers wearing masks stand in front of a beautiful river
(Photo: Lazy Bear)

“This year was a different kind of celebration, designed for safety and protection from Covid-19. All attendees had to show proof of vaccination and all of the events were outdoors,” the spokesperson said.

Two men play piggy back in a pool
(Photo: Lazy Bear)

“One highlight of the week was the new Super Soft Tea Dance located in a special area of Johnson’s Beach allowing for a spectacular view of the Russian River, trees, and sunset.

A group of men stand out in nature smiling, embracing each other from behind
(Photo: Lazy Bear)

“The money raised will be put to work quickly to further our mission: to build strong and healthy LGBTQIA+ communities and to support any kind of medical research.”

Rico Zamora (@ricowillcutyou) was attending the event for the first time. He told Gay Cities, “I have to admit that I’ve never felt more at ease around gay men as I have felt during the past few days at Lazy Bear. My husband feels the same way. There is absolutely no judgment here; everyone is so welcoming.

Three shirtless hunks smile at the camera
(Photo: @growingthiccbull/Instagram)

“As someone who is stepping out into the realm of feeling more secure about my own body image and my place within the gay community, I have nothing but the warmest and most enthusiastic thoughts about this event and the bears who converged on this adorable little town—not to mention all the wonderful staff, volunteers and vendors involved. And, of course, the pool parties!

“My husband and I will definitely be returning to Guerneville for this awesome event next year!”

An eclectic group of friendly men gathered together for a selfie
(Photo: @adrianchang/Instagram)
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