For award-winning party curator Shane Tate his second annual Key West Bear Weekend is all about body positivity. 

“It doesn’t matter if you’re 90 pounds or if you’re 300 pounds, you’re going to feel sexy, you’re going to have a good time and you’re going to be accepted exactly as you are,” Tate said. 

This will be Tate’s second iteration of KWBW. The event kicks off Nov. 8. 

KWBW began with a trial run in 2017, which saw more than 100 patrons descend on the island for a weekend of parties, fun and charity. This year organizers expect around 300 attendees –more than double last year’s attendance.

Tate has cultivated a long career of community centric and inclusive events. In asking the secret to his success, Tate said he takes a local approach to curating parties for the LGBT community by analyzing the community and its needs to ensure the charitable component of Key West Bear Weekend speaks to the local community. 

The 2018 KWBW will also welcome the crowning of the first Mr. Key West Bear. Along with the crown, the winner will have a platform to raise contributions to local Key West charities. Serving fun with purpose has catapulted Tate’s parties to must attend status within the community. 

The “Bear” culture within the greater LGBT community was historically carved out of an under-represented portion of the community, who felt they didn’t quite fit the perfect smooth muscular body type that has been pervasive in the community as the standard for acceptance for many years. Seeking a space within the community to be body positive expressive, gave way to the emergence of this safe community space of expression which is rooted in an all accepting, all inclusive approach to LGBT togetherness. 

 When examining Shane Tate’s parties over his career, the connecting fiber in all of his events is a sense of inclusion, respect and moving the representation of the community forward.  

This year, KWBW will add new parties and events. Party-goers will find a social calendar for the weekend that is chock full of pool parties, art and shopping trips and dance parties, including the Bubble Bear Foam Party and the Butch Queen Drag Bar Crawl. 

Plus, new for 2018, the organizers are excited to welcome Joe Fiore’s legendary FURBALL party to Key West as their headline event featuring South Florida’s premier DJ Alex Ferbeyre on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Attendees are encouraged to purchase an all-access pass for $65, which waives the cover charge for all official events over the weekend, gets the holder unlimited access to the Island House Resort, and also includes a number of exclusive discounts and offers at businesses around the island. Local residents of Key West will get a discounted pass for $50. 

Visit for more info and to purchase a pass. Key West Bear Weekend is presented by Shane Tate and Bear World Magazine, and sponsored by Island House Resort, Scruff, 127 Travel, Gun Oil and The Leather Master Key West. The weekend of bear celebration begins on Thursday, Nov. 8 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 11. 

Side Bar:

Event: Meat Happy Hour
When: Friday November 9
Where: Island House Key West 1129 Fleming Street
Description: Start the weekend right by meeting your furry friends for an all-male, clothing optional oasis. This MUST attend KWBW pass inclusive happy hour includes 2-4-1 on everything. Enjoy FREE gourmet appetizers passed around poolside.
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What: Bubble Bear Foam Party
When: Friday November 9
Where: Bourbon St. Pub
Description: Pool and hot tub filled with hot bubbly bears while live DJ’s and Go-Go bears entertain.
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What: Mr. Key West Bear Contest
When: Saturday Nov. 10
Where: Back Bar 711 Duval Street
Description: KWBW crowns its first Mr. Key West Bear.
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What: FURBALL powered by Scruff
When: Saturday November 10
Where: Side Bar 504 Angela Street
Description: KWBW Main Event featuring Joe Fiore’s bear dance party featuring DJ Alex Ferbeyre.
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Event: Butch Queen Bar Crawl
When: Sunday November 11
Where: Aqua Night Club 711 Duval St
Description: Sissy that walk with bears dressed in their fiercest butch queen looks for an epic bar crawl.
More info: