VIEW MORE PHOTOS | Atlanta Bear Fest Cookout & Contests @ Eagle

imageHundreds of gay bears clawed, mauled and partied their way through the Atlanta Bear Fest last weekend, showing again there’s no stopping them during their annual “break out.”

The event from Southern Bears typically offers a prison theme to tempt participants – “Lock Down” in 2010 (view photos) and “Break Out” for the this year’s rendition, which took place July 1-4 at the Courtyard Marriott in Tucker and the Eagle in Midtown. The theme comes complete with a warden, guard staff and prisoners.

imageThe event schedule offers a mix of relaxation by the pool, nightlife and the sort of events you’d expect from a festival of bears – a cookout at the Eagle and contests in underwear and jocks, along with awards for Best Chest, Hairy Ass and Best Bear Belly. On hand for the July 2 fun at the Eagle was Wayne Turpin (top, second photo background), who was named Mr. Atlanta Eagle in April. Turpin picked CHRIS Kids and Jerusalem House as his charity causes during his reign.

Organizers dubbed the weekend their best Bear Fest yet.

image“Southern Bears would like to express our appreciation to all the participants that made ABF ’11 - Break-Out the most successful event that we have had to date,” they write on the Bear Fest website.

If you’re new to bear culture, here’s a handy guide to telling them apart.

Photos by Brent Corcoran, RNZ Photography