October 15-18, 2015
Twenty-five years ago, the Bears of Central Florida organized the very first Bear Bust at the Full Moon Saloon. For over two decades, the bears put on this event at a number of locations, including the Clarion Hotel and Water Park and the Royal Plaza. Parliament House Orlando and Bears in the City have organized the long-running Bear Bust event since 2012, and P-House has played host every year since then. Both Parliament House and Bears in the City are pulling out all the stops for the 25th anniversary of this fun weekend, which will be held from October 15-18.
The weekend will begin with hotel check-ins after 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 15. At 9 p.m., there will be Bearaoke hosted by KJ Pat in the Bear Den bar at the Parliament House. On-site registration begins this evening at 9 p.m., and DJ Vegas will spin in the courtyard beginning at 10 p.m. Also at this time, an entertaining event, the Bear Olympics, will also go on in the courtyard and will be hosted by Bear Bust favorite Gidget Galore.
Friday’s events begin with a superhero pool party, which will start at noon with music by DJ C-Rail. On-site registration begins at 1 p.m. and will go on until 8 p.m. (registration will be open during this same time period on Saturday as well). Also beginning at 1 p.m. is the vendor fair, which will operate 13 hours per day through Sunday night/Monday morning. You can meet the cast of the Internet sitcom Where the Bears Are at the same time: they will host a screening in the Footlight Theatre, followed by a formal question-and-answer session and meet and greet. Rick Copp, Ben Zook and Joe Dietl will all be in attendance.
At 7 p.m., the Orlando Gay Chorus will perform a special show called “Uncut Cabaret.” Tickets cost $10 for standing-room only and $15 for reserved seating. You can buy your ticket by going to orlandogaychorus.org. The Full Moon Reunion Dance Party will begin in the disco at 9 p.m. with music provided by DJ Walter. The Mr. Perky Butt Contest is my favorite part of this weekend (last year I was a judge!), and the finalists will shake what their mamas gave them in the courtyard beginning at 11 p.m. At 11:30, there will be an underwear auction, sponsored by BearSkn, and the night ends with a concert from Matt Alber, formerly part of the vocal group Chanticleer, which will start at 12:45 a.m.
Saturday’s daytime pool party has a “singlet” theme, and I know I love singlets! The party begins poolside at noon with music from DJ Neon the GlowGoBear. At 1 p.m., there will be a special screening of “Bear City 2: The Proposal” in the Footlight Theatre, followed by a question-and-answer session and meet and greet with Jeffrey Roberson, best known by his drag name, Varla Jean Merman. There will be pool games from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., hosted by one of Parliament House’s favorite entertainers, Chantel Reshae. A cigar social will follow, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and then, at 8 p.m., Varla Jean Merman will star in her one-woman show, As Much Varla As You Can Bear!, in the Footlight Theatre. Tickets for this show are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Go to parliamenthouse.com to buy your tickets.
At 10 p.m., DJ C-Rail will spin music for the bears in the courtyard, followed by a jockstrap auction at 11 p.m. on the pool stage. The Mr. Bear Bust contest will start at 11:15, hosted by Varla Jean Merman and featuring the stars of Where the Bears Are as guest judges. Matt Zarley will be in concert on the pool stage at 12:45 a.m. There will be photo ops with the celebrity guests after the Mr. Bear Bust contest and also after the concert.
The final day of the Bear Bust begins with a ’70s-themed pool party at noon, with music by DJ Walter. A farewell barbecue will be held at 5:30 p.m.; if you want to get your ticket, you can buy it at the registration table, which opens at noon. Gidget and Chantel will host the poo games today from 2 to 4, followed by a group photo of everyone poolside at 5. Enjoy your favorite barbecued foods and refreshing drinks. Keith London and Eric Himan will perform a farewell concert at 8:30 p.m.
You can purchase your Bear Bust XXV run passes right now by going to the Bear Bust website at bearbust.org/runpass. If you are planning on reserving a room at Parliament House for that weekend, two run passes will be included automatically with your reservation. Run passes are $85 for the entire weekend if purchased online and $99 if purchased in person at the event. Run passes include free club entry all weekends, a free drink bracelet to be used in the hospitality suite, free entry to the movie Q&A and meet-and-greets, free entry to the farewell barbecue and passports, and photo ops with all celebrities.
For more information on the Bear Bust, visit bearbust.org. For more information on the Parliament House, visit parliamenthouse.com.