Bears in the Woods :: A Legacy of Fun

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Saturday July 23, 2016
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Lazy Bear Weekend attendees
Lazy Bear Weekend attendees

For the past two decades, gay couple Harry Lit and Allen Eggman have hosted Lazy Bear Weekend just about every summer in Guerneville. Now the former Bay Area residents, who currently live in South Florida, are calling it quits. Due in part to Lit's health issues, next month's Lazy Bear Weekend will be their last.

Never fear, Bear fans. Lit and Eggman tell the Bay Area Reporter that the show will go on, albeit with new producers at the helm.

The final Lazy Bear Weekend with Lit and Eggman as hosts and promoters takes place from Wednesday August 3 through Monday August 8.

"A Bear is a big hairy gay man who likes being appreciated for being big and hairy," explains Lit, for those who might not be familiar with Bear culture. "Bear is a state of mind."

"Being comfortable in your own skin is what it comes down to," added Eggman. "I'm more of a cub."

The couple recalled their first trip to Guerneville when they first started dating in the early 1990s.

"We handed out business cards at the local bar," Eggman said. "We held the first Lazy Bear Weekend in 1995, when we got a couple of hundred people. Initially it was just Saturday and Sunday."

"Because it was such a fun weekend, word spread," said Lit.

Two decades later, Lazy Bear Weekend has expanded to a five-day event with thousands of attendees.

"We've progressed," said Eggman. "We give choices; you can be lazy or active. There are pool parties, beach parties, dance parties, nature hikes, bonfires at night and wine tastings."

"There's also daily physical fitness," Lit said, noting that not a lot of Bears participate in this activity. "There's also a sober group to give strength to those in recovery who might find it difficult to be surrounded by alcohol."

Lazy Bear weekend creators Harry Lit and Allen Eggman.

Eggman thinks there might be a 50/50 split between single people and couples among Lazy Bear attendees. "I don't know if there's any way to know for sure," he said. "We just throw the parties so people can go."

On top of all those fabulous-sounding parties, there's also live entertainment. This year features the musical stylings of cabaret superstar Sharon McKnight and actor Leslie Jordan, beloved as Will and Grace 's "Southern belle" Leslie Jordan.

Lit and Eggman are quite pleased with their success. They're particularly proud of the monies they've raised for worthy causes including Positive Resource Center, Bay Positives, Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, Women's Cancer Resource Center, The Shanti Project among many others. They've raised an impressive $1.7 million for these charities.

Lazy Bear Weekend attendees. photo: LS Ludwig, courtesy Lazy Bear

They noted that their work was made much easier thanks to the help of events coordinator George Delmar, Scott McGillivray, who designs their posters, and banker Jack Sugrue.

It's been a fun ride for Lit and Eggman, but they say they have no regrets about moving on.

"Twenty years is enough," said Eggman. "With Harry disabled, the work was all on my shoulders. We're transferring Lazy Bear to three new promoters: David Barker of 440 Castro; Steven Adams, VP of Sterling Bank; and John Jacobs, who owns a catering business which serves firefighters up in the mountains. We'll continue to consult and plan to attend next year. We're both looking forward to being participants."

Scheduling and ticket info for Lazy Bear Weekend can be found at www.lazybearweekend.com