Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your bears. Be on the lookout for gladiators and furry fun that’s downright medieval as visitors invade for Atlanta Bear Fest: Roman Holiday this weekend.

After two fun prison-themed weekends—“Break Out” in 2011 and the hugely successful “Lock Down” in 2010 – the Atlanta-based Southern Bears social group shakes things up with a new twist that’s sure to add leather kilts, harnesses and men putting their swords against each other to the 2012 mix of bears at play.

The bears of ATL welcome burly, fuzzy gay men from across the country to the Courtyard Northlake Marriott once again for a packed schedule of day-to-night events Friday through Sunday. In addition to pool parties, vendors, grub-gatherings, gladiator games and dance beats by three visiting bear-beloved DJs, Bear Fest also includes open invitations at the Eagle each night.

To wit, expect a Roman invasion at the Eagle for the festival’s annual Mr. Atlanta Bear & Atlanta Cub Contest on Saturday. It’s a fun one. Check out photos from last year’s event.

If you’re curious but this whole bear thing is new to you, here’s a handy Field Guide to Bears to help you growl, prowl and fit right in with the best of them.

Looking for something else? Atlanta Bear Fest is just one of the best gay things to do in Atlanta this weekend.