VicBears has raised and donated $20,000 from the 2012 Southern HiBearnation Festival held in Melbourne, doubling last year’s fundraising efforts.

Victoria’s gay men’s social club handed over $15,000 to their nominated charity for this year, the Anti-Violence Project of Victoria.

The 2012 festival’s success and tireless fundraising from supporters was so effective that it exceeded its $15,000 target by $5,000.

The VicBears committee surprised crowds on Saturday night, July 28, when it announced the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) would receive the extra $5,000.

Last year the group raised a significant $10,000 for the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

VicBears president Rob Camm told the Star Observer they had exceeded all of their own expectations for fundraising this year.

“We set our targets a year ago that we wanted to do more, be bigger, better and raise more funds and we achieved that,” he said.

Camm said the surprise donation to the VAC was in the memory of late VicBears member Paul Halton.

“It’s a charity he supported and was close to,” he said.

Camm said the festival saw the largest attendance in the club’s 16-year history.

“The participation rate, the enjoyment levels, the support of businesses and venues were stronger than they’ve ever been,” he said.

Camm said they also sold more all-inclusive festival passes than ever before and sold out four of the events in the eight-day festival before the doors even opened.

Last year’s festival pre-sold just one event.

The Southern HiBearnation Festival is held during June annually.

INFO: Check out the photos from Saturday night’s event here.

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