In 1921, the seaside town of Atlantic City, New Jersey, was looking to cook up an event to draw people back to the shore after Labor Day. Its answer: the now faded, highly sexist Miss America pageant which successfully did what it was supposed to for decades, and put Atlantic City on the map long before its gambling days.
Fast forward to current times, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Season,” as we townies call the winter and early spring when the snowbirds and vacationers come down in droves and spend their money to escape the Artic freeze back home (this year here was the best tourist season ever for obvious reasons), ends around Easter when the weather starts getting better elsewhere.
Then, three years ago up popped Beach Bear Weekend which overnight has become a mid-May extravaganza. Holy shit!
This past weekend, whether it was the man’s bars like Bill’s or Ramrod, or our gay beach, Sebastian, all you saw was a wall-to-wall sea of bears of every shape and size and age along with their smooth admirers from across the country – and around the world. They were like an invading army you hoped would rape you.
And all I kept thinking as I either took it all in or felt surrounded by some of the handsomest, rugged looking guys I’ve seen in my checkered gay career was: what a fucken waste of a good gene pool!
Like the group of eight twenty something, all bearded, all hairy guys (I think from NYC) a yard or so from where I was baking myself on Sebastian. No, they weren’t all perfect, with a few budding bellies in sight, but I didn’t only envy their youthful exuberance, I relished in their camaraderie. They were truly having fun and enjoying one another and the moveable feast around them.
So at a time, when things should have been cooling off revenue-wise, this seaside city raked in millions more in tourist dollars.
Beach Bear Weekend: not just great eye candy plus –it’s brilliant fucken marketing!