Bearrison Street Fair - Folsom's 'cousin' celebrates body positivity

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday October 3, 2023
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The Barbells Bears and Butts Deadlift Competition at last year's Bearrison Street Fair (photo: Gooch)
The Barbells Bears and Butts Deadlift Competition at last year's Bearrison Street Fair (photo: Gooch)

Presented by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in conjunction with the Bears of San Francisco, the Bearrison Street Fair, which takes place on October 14 inside the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District in SoMa, is sometimes dubbed "a fair for every bear." The fair is now in its third year and gets its name by combining the word bear with Harrison Street, the fair's main thoroughfare.

Like its cousin the Folsom Street Fair, Bearrison celebrates sexual diversity but also has a specific focus on body positivity and making sure that everyone, regardless of shape, size, color or gender, feels sexy within their own skin.

Erik Greenfrost, co-chair of the Bearrison Street Fair (photo: Facebook)  

"We are working towards building a more supportive, welcoming and inclusive bear scene by representing a diverse arena of cultures," said Erik Greenfrost, co-chair of the Bearrison Street Fair, in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter. "Bearrison has been described as Folsom's beer-bellied father who does not shave very frequently, and we are living for it."

Greenfrost reports that as a new fair, Bearrison is still growing, and that the response so far has been super-positive. Bearrison features all the traditional elements of a street fair; vendors, food and drink, music, dancing, performers, plus a few things that help to make Bearrison unique.

Up(dead)lifting experience
"People love our wrestling stage, and last year our Deadlift Competition," Greenfrost said. "'Barbells, Bears and Butts' was incredibly popular. This year we are introducing a whole slew of other entertainment options that we think folks will really be into."

Attendees at the 2022 Bearrison Street Fair (photo: Gooch)  

Greenfrost, the Sisters and company are pulling out all stops to present a circus theme in keeping with the "Under the Big Top" title given to this year's fair. There will be a Midway with carnival games like a Hi-Striker, a dildo toss and a cock ring toss. There will also be a traveling sideshow with acts that aren't contained to a stage but instead will be throughout the fair interacting with guests.

"Especially as a fair in October we would love to see guests show up dressed in their best Center Ring Realness," said Greenfrost.

The Barbells Bears and Butts Deadlift Competition will be represented by a variety of body types.

"This non-gendered contest has folks doing as many deadlift reps as they can within a set time limit," Greenfrost said. "They are also encouraged, as they are comfortable, to wear whatever makes them feel sexy, be that a jockstrap, a singlet, a pup hood, or a rainbow feather boa. Afterward, for those willing to participate, the emcee spins a wheel of adjectives, and a bonus prize is awarded by audience award for a variety of butts, hungriest, poutiest, etc. It's a great demonstration of strength athletics in a fun environment that is a huge crowd pleaser and a delight to watch. Like last year, we will have two rounds, from 1pm to 2pm and 3pm to 4pm."

There will also be a variety of other contests at the fair, such as the Best in Show Pup Contest that will involve games like balancing treats on your nose and a Simon Says-like game called Handler Says.

Pro wrestling the 2022 Bearrison Street Fair (photo: Facebook)  

Bouncing booties and gay grapplers
"And our breakaway hit from last year is the Bouncing Booties Twerk-off," said Greenfrost. "All the contests are designed to be lighthearted, fun, and a celebration of sexy bodies in all their forms, with lots of audience participation and applause."

There will also be a fun array or performers on hand. There will be two DJs, Gregg S, and Dakota Pendant. Master violinist Kippy Marks will also be performing, as will the gay all-male revue Baloney. And if that isn't enough, you can also rock out with Munecas, a queer Latinx punk band who made quite a splash at last year's fair.

The Full Queer Wrestling Stage also promises to be a lot of fun.

"Wrestling had always seemed like a straight spectacle to me, but Full Queer demonstrates just how queer professional wrestling can be," Greenfrost said. "This is full-on WWE bouts, complete with our award winning announcer A.J. Kirsch, aka Broseph Joe Brody, egging our contestants on as they engage in what I'd describe as daytime soap opera meets Broadway fight scene meets mixed martial arts caged fight. Storytelling, physicality, and audience engagement are all in peak forms in this very unique art form. Like last year there will be three different rounds of wrestling."

For all the fun it promises, the main goal of the fair is for attendees to feel positive about themselves and their bodies.

"The queer community, and even the bear community, can sometimes have really strict standards for what is considered beautiful and sexy," said Greenfrost. "Bearrison is about getting together and sharing an experience as a community. From our vendors, to our performers, to our volunteers to our attendees, we want everyone to leave feeling connected and sexy and valued. And it doesn't hurt to throw a rocking party at the same time."

Bearrison Street Fair: Under the Big Top, October 14, 12pm-6 pm, 11th Street and Harrison. Free/donations, VIP Passes $20-30.

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