Fat bear week

Fat Bear Week Is Back: Cheer for the Chubbiest Bear

It’s the week you’ve been waiting for all year. Whether or not you’ve heard of it, Fat Bear Week at Katmai National Park is tons of fun.

It’s time to cast your vote. (We aren’t talking about election season, although that’s important too.) It’s time to cast your vote for your favorite fat bear. Fat Bear Week is Alaska’s Katmai National Park’s biggest social media event of the year. And like in past years, you can take part.

Here’s how to participate in #FatBearWeek: This is a single-elimination tournament. For each pairing of bears, you vote for your favorite. (This contest is so popular, Katmai NP created a website for the event.) At the end of each day, the bear with the most votes advances. And only one will be crowned the fattest bear.

Cast your first vote here today. Fat Bear Week will culminate on Fat Bear Tuesday (October 7) when Katmai announces the winner.

Meet the (Biggest) Bears

Contestants this year include 2019 champ 435 “Holly,” 128 “Grazer,” 151 “Walker,” 32 “Chunk,” 480 “Otis,” and more. To raise the stakes, reigning champ 435 Holly’s young cub will be entering the competition as well.

Which bear will weigh supreme? Vote and follow to find out. Visit Katmai’s Facebook page or website for more information.

Fat Bear Week History

Katmai National Park is home to roughly 2,200 bears (and plenty of other wildlife). And as winter approaches, the bears take mealtime very seriously as they fatten up for the cold months of hibernation ahead. The park created the event after their live cams of the resident brown bears along Brooks River became increasingly popular. You can visit the park in person or watch the live bearcam online.

In this fun contest, Katmai rangers pit the largest and heaviest bears against each other for a chance at the coveted title: Fat Bear Tuesday Champion. Bear 435 Holly will be defending her title this year.

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.