• Manbears Manchester

That long overdue hug

Last weekend saw Pre-HiBEARnation 2021 take place here in Manchester. I'm not gonna lie, we were nervous.

Planning the event was done within six weeks following all the new guidelines that were implemeneted at the end of September. However, our focus was trying to create a good social event that not only was fun but was SAFE!

I think we pulled it off. With social events, club night, and food, we had varied events that appealed to a huge cross section of the community. Including online.

Virtual events became a norm in the pandemic and allowed those who previously had a barrier to access the community the ability to join in. We did this with online games, broadcasting and virtual beareoke.

Though this event would not happen without several key players and venues involved.

I think the biggest thank you has to go to our team of buddies. Sean, Chris A, Chris G, Phil and Pez all mucked in and gave it their all. They were the visible faces of the event and were on hand to help in lots of different ways. I mean, seriously, without Buddies we would REALLY struggle with these things.

Being a buddy IS hard work, you have to push yourself out your social comfort and engage with total strangers and be available and ready at the drop of a hat. But it is also one of the most rewarding experiences. Everyone involved in Manbears started this way. As a Buddy, being there helping and showing that passion for the incredible diverse community of Manchester.

The REM, The Eagle, Cockatoo Club, Richmond Tea Rooms, Eva, The Goose & New York, all made the village experience friendly and welcoming. When you get chance support these venues, and their staff. They bring us an incredible support that is VERY unique to Manchester. Cruz101 (Sub101) our club venue. They made our night fun, with their amazing set up and staffing. Helped us set up and tear down, and have helped us build a night that simply was neon electric. Also like to thank Wes, and the LGBT foundation for providing the safe sex packs for the weekend. An invaluable resource we were close to losing over this last year, and thanks to community input has been saved and helped us deliver an oppotunity to safely hook up.

Lastly, I REALLY need to thank YOU. Yes YOU. You

who are reading this, you who attended or even dipped a toe in. You who engaged with us. You who

got covered in neon. You who danced, who sang who kissed and who hugged. The people that attended this year were excepetionally open and talkative. It was amazing to get the hugs the closeness and feel those people we have not seen in so long. Great British Bear Bash 23: Studio Fifty Paw is set for 29th April 2022 - 2nd May 2022. We can't wait to see you there and hug, dance and enjoy the community again.

Your Manbears Team Aaron, Andrew, Mike, Richard and Steve.

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Manbears Manchester’s priority is the safety and well being of our community. Be that physical or mental health. With that in mind, The Great British Bear Bash 23: Studio Fifty Paw will be postponed t