TBRU turns 21 with a Mardi Gras party, and gay Dallas is getting in on the act
There’s something magical about turning 21. You can drink legally, just eight years after you first started. You’re considered an adult for all purposes except car rental and paying back your student loans. You feel mature, but are still young enough to turn heads.
It must be the same for the Texas Bear Round Up, the annual post-hibernation gathering of fleshy and hirsute gay men (and their followers), which the Dallas Bears has been putting on now for two decades. For the 21st annual event — which takes place this weekend at two host hotels, as well as various venues throughout the gayborhood — organizers have chosen a Mardi Gras theme. And why not? Mardi Gras is the epitome of reckless abandon, a carnival atmosphere where the pleasures of the flesh in this world outrank better judgment. Which is exactly what turning 21 feels like.
There are a variety of formal events scheduled for the weekend. In addition to games at Love Field Hotel and Suites and pool parties and the vendors market at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, plus Saturday night’s Mr. TBRU contest, there will be excursions across Dallas: Friday night’s BearDance at Station 4 features a guest appearance from Willam Belli of RuPaul’s Drag Race; the Dallas Eagle, Round-Up Saloon and Cedar Springs Tap House will each host events; and Club Dallas and Midtowne Spa will serve as day trips for attendees.
There are non-official events as well, with New York promoter Joe Fiore bringing his FurBall to Marty’s Live on Saturday, with Sydney’s DJ Matt Effect headlining and Dallas’ DJ Prince P opening. And the Hidden Door is once again home of the traditional “church” outing for Sunday.
Below is a schedule of major planned events. You can also find more at TBRU.org.
Friday, March 11
• At the host hotels
Noon — Pool Party (indoor pool!) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Noon — Cards Against Humanity; Bear-aoke at Love Field Hotel.
2:30 p.m. — Bear Family Feud at Love Field Hotel.
4:30 p.m. — Bear Bingo with Sister Helen Holy at Love Field Hotel.
• Excursions (all buses leave from Crowne Plaza)
11 a.m. — Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
11 a.m. — Bishop Arts Food Tour.
2 p.m. — Spa trip to Club Dallas.
5:30 p.m. — Cigar trip to Blue Smoke.
8 p.m. — BearDance at Station 4 with DJ Roke Cabrera and DJ Chris Spear, plus a performance from Drag Racer Willam Belli in the Rose Room, with Rick and Joe from Where the Bears Are taking photos and doing a meet-and-greet.
Saturday, March 12
• At the host hotels
Noon — Pool party at Crowne Plaza.
Noon — Bear Trivia at Love Field Hotel.
2:30 p.m. — Naughty Bear Bingo at Love Field Hotel.
8:30 p.m. — Mr. TBRU Contest at the Crowne Plaza.
11 p.m. — Underwear auction at the Crowne Plaza.
11 a.m. — Noble Rey Brewery tour.
11:30 a.m. — Spa trip to Midtowne Spa.
5:30 p.m. — Family Dinner at The Ranch.
• Also featured
9 p.m. — FurBall at Marty’s Live with DJ Matt Effect.
Sunday, March 13
11:40 a.m. — Shuttles begin to leave for TBRU Texas Barbecue at the Round-Up Saloon.
3 p.m. — “Church” at the Hidden Door.
4 p.m. Spa trip to Club Dallas.
5 p.m. — Official TBRU After-Party: Trash Disco at Dallas Eagle with DJ Blaine Soileau.
6 p.m. — Cigar Party at Cedar Springs Tap House.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2016.