Rejoice, Fat Bear Week Is Back & You Can Vote for the Fattest Bear

Who will steal Holly's seat on the fat bear throne this year?


This week we social distancers can get close to Alaskan bears without coming into contact with dangerously viral humans or airplanes, because Katmai National Park is hosting its beloved Fat Bear Week, a digital fat bear competition, for the sixth year

Now that we are no longer physical bodies but streams of Zoom call consciousness' levitating from kitchen to bathroom to bedroom, our beloved annual Fat Bear competition has taken on a new, grounding significance. Katmai's competition already has a huge fat bear fanbase, which grew from a smaller group of Facebook participants from 2014. This year, the competition has its own separate website, complete with high-res pictures and livestreams of the bears

The competition is in single elimination format; you pick a winner in each set of two bears presented and the one with the most votes moves forward. As you can see in the above tweet by Katmai National Park, there are 12 chubbies in the ranking, including last year's victor, Holly. From September 30 to October 6, you'll have the opportunity to pick your favorites here. Matchups will be open for voting from 12pm to 10pm EST. 

“Fat Bear Week has grown beyond my wildest expectations when I first conceived the idea while working as a ranger at Katmai National Park,” Mike Fitz, a former ranger at Katmai National Park and Preserve, told Gizmodo. “I think there are several reasons why people seem to love Fat Bear Week. It’s positive and provides a brief reprieve from the negativity that often dominates our social media feed." 

On Wednesday, the competition started off strong. 

"Today’s first matchup is between the dominant doge, bear 856, and big bootied bear 151 ‘Walker’. At Brooks Falls, the powerful presence of 856 allows him to push ‘Walker’ out of prime fishing spots," the website reads, describing the first set of bears competing against each other. "In this arena, can 151 ‘Walker’ flaunt his fatness to vanquish the big boss or will 856 once again prove that his overbearing obesity wins the day?" 

Let us all step out into the nature website vote for the chubbiest bear, so that we may ground ourselves in the pre-hibernation flubber of our mammal brethren and hold fast to the memory through this cold, uncertain winter.

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send your tips to