From March 20 to 24, a large part of the Amsterdam scene will join the festivities of the Amsterdam Bear Pride. The organization hopes to make it a Pride where not only parties and food are at center stage, but where sociability is key. Besides a combined FurBall and Bear Necessity Party, a Mister Bear Contest, a Canal Bear Cruise, Bear Bowling, UnderBear, and After- en XXXL Lust parties will be organized.
David Goodman, editor of “Bear World Magazine,” is thrilled. David and his men “have looked at the schedule and WOW it’s going to be amazing! We are planning to be at everything!”
The bear scene as a clearly visible phenomenon developed in the 1980s, as a proud response by hairy and sometimes somewhat stout men on the smooth, and muscled by frequent gym visits, but slender body type that was the popular image in those days. Also in The Netherlands, the bear scene has become considerably big. In 2009, a Bear Pride was organized here for the first time as part of Gay Pride. As a consequence of its being part of a larger event, the attention for this manifestation was somewhat overshadowed.
Over the past few years, the bear scene in Amsterdam has matured with events such as Bear Necessity and FurBall, and the city has become an attractive destination for the bear community. That is also the reason that Bear Pride, next to Gay Pride, Leather Pride and Fetish Pride, deserves a special weekend.
Michael Roks, the organizer of Bear Pride, provides an answer to the question why the bears get a separate event, and not, for example, a prominent place within Fetish Pride: “Whether it is a fetish, or whether it has something to do with lust is irrelevant. The most important thing is that people have fun, and that we put Amsterdam back on the map and turn the event into a large party for everyone to enjoy.”
The kick-off for this large party is on Thursday afternoon March 20 at 16:00 at the Spijker Bar, Kerkstraat 4, with the Amsterdam Bear Pride 2014 Kick Off. Visitors can get in the mood with a half-pint draught for only 1.50 Euros. Old friendships or new contacts can then be strengthened from 20:00 onwards during the Bear Bust in Dirty Dicks, Warmoesstraat 86, with beer and soda for just two Euros.
Cups who want to play with each other, or men who would like to take a youngster under their wings, can visit The Eagle, Warmoesstraat 90, for a CubFest Edition of the weekly Young Eagle, from 22:00 to 04:00 a.m. Here, visitors younger than twenty-eight only have to pay 2.00 Euros for a beer and soft drinks, while DJ Mally Clark is taking care of the music, and a laser show adds to the fun. On this particular night, The Eagle has no dress code. Also from 22:00 onwards, the notorious House of Hopelezz at cruise club Church, Kerkstraat 52, venue of the bi-monthly FurBall, hosts an adapted edition of the weekly Blue party. Around 01:00, visitors can expect pole dancing drag queens and other extravagant performances, until the Church closes its doors at 04:00.
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, visitors perhaps would like to explore Amsterdam’s bar scene with a pub-crawl on Friday afternoon. A lot of bars have drink specials, serve snacks to bears, or have organized special activities for Bear Pride. Because of the different opening hours, the organization of Bear Pride suggests to start the bar-crawl at 16:00 on the west side of the Rokin, and move to the Zeedijk around six o’clock, and go to the Warmoesstraat from 20:00 onwards.
Those who decide to dedicate this afternoon to the many other attractions of the capital, for example the world famous collection of the Homodok or one of the renowned museums, can meet at The Web, St. Jacobsstraat 6, from 20:00 onwards for a Lumberjack Party for bears and their friends in checkered shirts, or shirtless, jeans and boots as worn by woodworkers. Here, they can act tough and rough, or enjoy demonstrations. In Church at 22:00, the UnderBear Edition of the weekly underwear party (Z)onderbroek starts, while DJ Rado spins at The Eagle for the Amsterdam Bear Night.
And those who feel lucky, can take a chance on Saturday at 18:00 in the Spijker. Here, the unsurpassed Miss Didi Licious will present a Bear Bingo in her own unique way. Visitors not only can expect a flood tide of foul jokes, but also fantastic prizes. “I wonder what the prizes will be,” David Goodman asks, “My Very Own CUB?”
From 21:00 at Odeon, Singel 460, one of the highlights of the Bear Pride will take place, to know the election of Mister Bear Netherlands, organized in cooperation with the Amsterdam Lowlanders. Men who think they are eligible for the title were invited to post one or more pictures on the Facebook page of the election. The conditions are that the candidates have to live in the Netherlands and speak both Dutch and English. The ten people who will get the most “likes” will be invited for a pre-selection interview. Out of these ten men, six will compete. After an introduction on stage, the candidates will participate in a talent and strip round to show their qualities for the coveted title. Lastly, the candidates will gather as many coins as possible from visitors, who have all received a coin when entering the venue in order to give it to their favorite candidate.
The election will last until 23:00, after which the Official Amsterdam Bear Pride Party 2014 will break loose at the Odeon until 05:00. For the occasion, Bear Necessity & FurBall will organize in unison an unforgettable party with DJs Rado, Bramsterdam, Big General and Moog. During the party, visitors can meet the candidates, or even the newly elected Mister Bear. After this, the official Bear Pride After Party starts in The Eagle at 05:00 for more partying and cruising.
To recover from all this partying, the (relatively) early birds can gather on Sunday afternoon at 14:15 in Dirty Dicks for the Canal Bear Cruise. After a drink, visitors will board a tour boat to enjoy the beauty of the canals with a tour guide.
Those who like something more active can throw bowling balls at Knijn Bowling from 15:00 onwards. Teams will be put together on the spot, and participants share the lane fees. Experience is not necessary, it is about having fun.
The party animals can continue in Club Church from 16:00 to 20:00 at a special Bear edition of XXXL Lust on Sunday, the famous fetish dance and play party. There is a dress code for this, so come in leather, rubber, in full uniform or naked with only boots, shirtless or in leather with jeans, a jock-strap or dark underwear.
From 22:00, the Bear Pride Farewell in The Eagle presents the opportunity to say goodbye to old and new friends, and raise one’s glass to a successful weekend and make plans for next year.