WILTON MANORS—Bob Young is not a happy camper these days. After four years of running the successful event called BeachBear Weekend that pulled thousands of those husky and hairy studs to frolic on our white sandy beaches, the fifth anniversary of the event is a wipeout thanks to the antics of a man named Craig Jungwirth. Young signed an agreement on January 15, 2016 to assign the name BeachBear Weekend to Jungwirth in exchange for $100. And that was when all the trouble began.
While last week’s issue of the Florida Agenda detailed many of the antics that local businesses have had to endure in their dealings with Jungwirth, it did not even begin to address the dozens of emails that have been sent from Jungwirth to Young and other indiviuals who have questioned both his intentions and honesty.
While the BeachBear Weekend website (http://beachbearweekend.com/) is still up and running, advertising events that will not take place and charging for rooms, parties, and beach chairs that will not be supplied, clearly it is Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors that will take the brunt of the negative publicity when May 5 arrives and Jungwirth is unable to deliver on any of the packages he has sold or rooms purchased.
Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Dean Trantalis called it “a huge calamity without our community.” While he remembered that Jungwirth had come to City Hall requesting that a proclamation from the mayor of Fort Lauderdale declare May 5th-9th the 5th Annual BeachBear Weekend, no such proclamation was ever issued,” Trantalis said.
Yet on the BeachBear Weekend site, it certainly appears as if Mayor Jack Seilor has issued one.
In Recognition of
5th Annual Beach Bear Weekend
May 5-9, 2016
WHEREAS, the 5th Annual Beach Bear Weekend will take place on May 5-9, 2016 on Fort Lauderdale Beach hosted by the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort; and
WHEREAS, the event continues to bring men from all over the world to experience gay friendly Fort Lauderdale Beach and the city of Wilton Manors’ nightlife and other entertainment attractions; and
WHEREAS, the city of Fort Lauderdale is proud to host the attendees of Beach Bear Weekend and are confident that Fort Lauderdale is the perfect setting for the scheduled activities; and
WHEREAS, the City of Fort Lauderdale congratulates the organizers of the Annual Beach Bear Weekend on the 5th Annual event and are delighted to issue this proclamation in celebration of the 5th Anniversary.
NOW THEREFORE, WE, as City Commissioners of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, do hereby proclaim May 5-9, 2016 as:
5th Annual Beach Bear Weekend
in the city of Fort Lauderdale and do encourage the attendees to take advantage of all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer
Dated this, the 1st day of March, 2016.
Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler
A check of the minutes from commission meetings indicate that no such proclamation was ever issued.
“It is really important for the bear community at large to know that this is not the doing of Fort Lauderdale,” Trantalis told the Florida Agenda. “We have always embraced the bear community and this guy (Jungwirth) has really tarnished the bear community and its reputation.”
Richard Grey, the Managing Director for the LGBT market for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “Very clearly, we welcome bears in Fort Lauderdale. Diversity and color is the personality of this destination. When I first heard about Beach Bear five, I was very excited and I think it is a great event.
“After all, we have a large resident bear community and they are always eager to welcome guests to our town and our clubs like Village Pub, Alibi, Hunters, and Scandals.
“While Fort Lauderdale is popular with all types of LGBT travelers, it is a BIG loss that this event is not going to happen.
“We have supported BeachBear Weekend, it is a right event and a good event. Unfortunately, the management is out of our hands.”
Co-originator Bob Young is quick to point out that Nikki Grossman at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau turned down his request last year with financial incentives for the event which is what led him to sell the rights to BeachBear Weekend in the first place.
In the meantime, international bear organizations are attempting to circumvent Chris Jungwirth and hold their own functions over the same weekend, staying at area gay resorts.