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'Cocaine Bear' officiates Kentucky wedding

Cocaine Bear was the subject of a hit movie. Now, it is the officiant of a wedding.
Posted at 1:06 PM, Mar 28, 2023

There was a "beary" special wedding Monday in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The officiant? None other than the taxidermied "Cocaine Bear" who was the subject of the recent movie by the same name.

A Pikeville, Kentucky, couple tied the knot at a souvenir shop near downtown Lexington. Griffin VanMeter, owner of the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall, said he posted about making the bear, nicknamed Pablo Eskobear, the store's mascot after the shop acquired the bear. This came well before the bear became the subject of a hit movie.

A serval is being treated

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The slender feline made its escape after its owner was pulled over by police on Jan. 28, according to local animal control officials.


He announced the bear was open to officiating weddings.

The couple reached out, and the rest is history.

"We were happy to make all of this love collide and have the first cocaine bear wedding," said VanMeter.

The happy couple, Alexandra Venturino and Armando Elizondo, said this will be a memorable story to tell their future kids and grandkids.

Although the Universal Pictures film might seem too far-fetched and downright absurd to be real, "Cocaine Bear" is based on the true story of a 175-pound black bear that apparently died of a cocaine overdose. The film "Cocaine Bear," which was directed by Elizabeth Banks, depicts a bear's drug-fueled rampage as he terrorizes an Appalachian community.

After a theatrical release last month, "Cocaine Bear" is now available for digital download.

This article was written by Sydney Darden for Scripps News Lexington.