Saturday’s third annual “BeardFest” determined the best beards in the world … or at least Somerville.
The event, organized by the Somerville Arts Council, drew more than three dozen beardies from across New England to compete for the best natural full beard, free-style full beard, free-style moustache, free-style partial beard, and fake beard at Arts at the Armory in Somerville.
“I came in fourth place in the nationals in Oregon two years ago,” said Brian McGregor, dressed like a circus ringmaster with a whip, top hat and red coat and carrying a toy white tiger. He was a free-style moustache finalist Saturday. “Two years ago for this competition I won best beard and mustache. … Everyday someone compliments it, which means I can’t let the public down.”
“I grew a beard just because it seemed like an awesome thing to do,” said Dustin Taksar, who competed for best natural full beard in Somerville and plans to fly to Vegas Wednesday for the 2012 National Beard and Mustache Championships. “I hate shaving. And I found out there were other guys who hate shaving as much as I do and it was fun to hang out with them.”
Host Stu Siegel prompted contestants to explain that their beards were inspired by Abraham Lincoln, lumberjacks and Princess Toadstool from "Super Mario Bros." There was commiseration over the difficulties of keeping mayonnaise out of one’s beard and refusing to shave for a sister’s wedding. “I just grew it in the bathroom [using] hormones,” joked one woman competing with a fake beard. “I put all the men folk to shame.”
Three judges — Todd Easton, who founded Somerville's BeardFest in 2010, Elyse Andrews and Marshmallow Fluff inventor Archibald Query (played by Mike Katz) — picked the finalists in each category. Winners were then determined by audience applause: Brian Roy’s snowy white natural full beard, Brad Petrinec’s free-style full beard, Ben Lewis’s free-style partial beard (he was helped by having no rivals), David Mosher’s curly handlebar free-style mustache, and Becky Gosselin's fake beard made from beer bottle caps (which beat out 3-month-old Duncan Ruthven’s curly pipecleaner stache).
After these winners were announced, Jon Leonard took the prize in the eating-chowder-while-bearded contest. He became the audience’s favorite by purposely splashing chowder all over himself and finally overturning his bowl on his head. His winning technique? He said, “Enthusiasm for seafood.”
This program aired on November 5, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.