The air is crisp; the leaves are beginning to turn; the sun is setting earlier. All of this can only mean one thing: Something’s coming. The biggest holiday of the year is on the horizon, lumbering toward us with fur-covered rolls jiggling gloriously in time with the low rumble that heralds its arrival.
That’s right, it’s time for Fat Bear Week.
After a summer upset that saw reigning champ bear 865's dominance challenged by the ambitious bear 747 , the winner of this year’s increasingly popular tournament series seems more uncertain than ever.
Organizer Explore.org’s “Meet The Bears” page gives us a rundown of the contestants, complete with before and after photos showing bears like 435 (Holly) and 128 (Grazer) looking svelte during the summer and properly huge earlier this month. 865 has vanished from the line-up, though 747 remains, making us wonder if he remains the bear to beat for 2021.
Voting starts today and will continue until October 5th, when we finally learn which bear “is the fattest of the fat.” As always, participants are asked to use their best judgment when deciding which bear they think should win a given bracket. Explore.org says different factors can be considered, like whether a voter wants to reward how much weight a mother or aging bear puts on despite the challenges they face raising cubs or accessing fish. But people are also encouraged to just “vote for the bear you think is simply the largest and fattest,” objective factors be damned.
Basically, there’s no right or wrong way to make your choices. Fat Bear Week is a state of mind. Fat Bear Week is whatever you see when an image of a gloriously chunky forest beast is put before your eyes.
To monitor every moment of the action, check out Explore.org’s livestream of the bears’ favorite fishing spot at Brooks Falls in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, vote on the Fat Bear Week website, or follow the results on Twitter.
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