A NEW Mr Brighton Bear was crowned at one of the biggest events of the LGBTQ+ calendar.

Brighton Bear Weekend returned to the city after a series of virtual events were held last year due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

The annual event in Kemp Town is for bears - a slang term for gay men who are often heavy-set and hairy – and features quizzes, a garden party and even Bear-a-oke.

The 2021 Brighton Bear Weekend (BBW) was the 10th annual live event, supporting charity efforts such as the Brighton Rainbow Fund.

The Argus: Brighton Bear Weekend 2021Brighton Bear Weekend 2021

After a “fierce but friendly battle”, a new Mr Brighton Bear was crowned at the event held in Dorset Gardens.

Kevin J Thurlow-Criss, a medical research operations director from Woodingdean, was the successful bear and was presented with his crown by incumbent Gavin Walker Bennett-Mason, from Shoreham.

A sash was also presented by Danielle Evans (Miss Brighton 2021).

The Brighton Bear Weekend Garden Party on Saturday featured a range of performers to entertain the crowds, as well as a selection of stalls, exhibitors and food services provided by Lunch Positive and the Village Metropolitan Community Church.

The Argus: Brighton Bear Weekend 2021Brighton Bear Weekend 2021

Brighton Bear Weekend chairman Graham Munday said he is “over the moon” with the response to the entire weekend.

“Seeing so many people in Dorset Gardens for what is one of our flagship events is just wonderful,” he said. “For the last couple of hours, we had to implement a ‘one-in-one-out’ system, in accordance with our licence for the day.

The Argus: Brighton Bear Weekend 2021Brighton Bear Weekend 2021

“A number of people have commented how great it is to be back out at what is a carefully planned, friendly, relaxed event. There is a true sense of community, which makes us very happy indeed”.

Bear-a-oke at Bar Broadway, which was hosted by drag artist Candi Rell and JonBee, rounded off the main weekend programme.

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