Saturday, July 20, 2013

PTown Bids a Fond Adieu to the Bears

These two Bears thoroughly enjoyed delighting others as they walked down Commercial Street.
 As thousands of Bears began flocking into Provincetown last week, the atmosphere changed quite noticeably.  While other crowds attending various "theme" weeks held in Provincetown throughout the year sometimes raise the stress level here (along with the decibel level, the attitude factor and the drama quotient,) the bears bring a collective sigh of relief from innkeepers, shopkeepers and peacekeepers alike as they take over the town for a week. Waitstaff, cab drivers, merchants and Town Hall bench-sitters all seem to agree... We love the Bears!
This group is probably our favorite of all the crowds who join us for a week or so every summer. As a whole, the Bears are a group of considerate, fun-loving, mellow creatures who make us smile when we encounter them walking down Commercial Street dressed in costume for themed parties, or find them splashing in various swimming pools, or when we see them being pedaled around town in the pedicabs at dinner time.
I wrote the other day about special dinner menus for Bear Week, and there's also special entertainment booked just for this crowd, as well as harbor cruises, concerts, dune tours and countless other events. You don't have to be a bear to enjoy bargains in restaurants, comics brought in for this week, or special art displays in many galleries. This painting by Trevor was found in a display case outside his new gallery at the corner of Commercial and Pearl Streets. The Lyman-Eyer Gallery, in the heart of the Gallery District, on the edge of Kiley Court, and a number of others, also mounted special shows for Bear Week.
Andy cavorted in his Bear suit to raise money for the Soup Kitchen.
The Bears show their appreciation for  this beautiful little town that welcomes them with open arms by supporting several benefits and fundraisers for community organizations here. This year there was a Pirate Party at the Crown & Anchor to benefit Camp Lightbulb, Provincetown's summer camp for LGBT teens. The Fireman's Ball, held at the Paramount, raised money for our fire department. The Uniform Ball, held at the A-House, raised money for our local Soup Kitchen, and Club Purgatory hosted a Feed The Bears Buffet, also benefiting the Soup Kitchen.
Andy, shown here in his Bear suit, is a New Hampshire Bear who drove down from Manchester and happened to have a bear suit in his car, and realized that he could help herd hungry Bears up Carver Street to the fundraising buffet by donning his Bear suit and bounding around on Commercial Street to advertise the event. This synthetic fur costume (heavy, and hot as hell) has a sort of "beach ball" inside, to give this Bear a big, round belly. Andy pumped it full of air from a tiny compressor hooked up to his car's cigarette lighter, so I would imagine that added a good bit of extra warmth inside. On one of the hottest evenings we've had during this heat wave, Andy spent three hours in this torturous suit, helping to raise money for our Soup Kitchen. It hadn't been pre-arranged. No one asked him to do it. Andy just saw an opportunity to help, so he stepped up. We thank him, and all the other Bears, Cubs and Otters who help to raise money for our local service organizations every year.
With just a couple of days of official Bear Week left, the group begins packing up their new T-shirts and assorted mementos for the journey home, wherever they all might live. We blow them a kiss, and wish them a safe journey home, and hope to see each one of them in Provincetown again, soon!

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