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Beardfest 2012 promises to be a fur-filled frenzy in Somerville

Posted by Your Town  November 1, 2012 01:30 PM

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Bert Mayer was last year’s winner in the Best Freestyle Partial category

Things are about to get pretty hairy in Somerville.

This Saturday the Somerville Arts Council will be hosting Beardfest 2012, an event that is becoming an annual competition and celebration of all facial hair. From the glistening hairs of an adolescent to the unruly bristles of a lumberjack-wannabe, dozens of face manes will be on display.

Bert Mayer—last year’s winner in the “Best Freestyle Partial” category and a frequent beard-competitor—is looking forward to competing in Somerville yet again.

“Somerville is awesome because it has a lot of older folks. It’s an artistic community, so a lot of people don’t have to shave for work, so there’s a large population of people with beards. ” Mayer said.

This year, Mayer will be competing in the “Freestyle Full Beard” category, hoping to defend his title and have a fun time with the bearded and non-bearded alike. Somerville’s Beardfest is unique from other beard competitions in that it has a specific category for “Best Fake Beard.”

Gregory Jenkins, the executive director of the Somerville Arts Council, said this is the council’s third year hosting this event. What started as a way to bring foot traffic into Somerville’s Union Square, Beardfest has grown into a beloved festival of all things follicle. In 2011, the festival was held at the Precinct bar. Jenkins said that between the 75 to 100 contestants and the nearly 500 spectators, the Precinct was bursting at the seams.

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This year, Beardfest will be held at the Center for the Arts at the Armory, located at 191 Highland Avenue. With the bigger venue, the Arts Council hopes for an even bigger crowd.

Todd Easton, who originally pitched the idea of Beardfest to the Arts Council three years ago, is one of this year’s judges. He said there are many characteristics to look for in a winner’s beard.

“Our [competition] is about the size of the beard, how you wear your beard, and what you do with your beard.” Easton said. “It’s about the attitude of how the person carries what’s on their mouth.” Easton said he is always surprised by the creative ways competitors find to showcase their pride and glory.

This year, there are five competition categories:

Natural Full Beard
Freestyle Full Beard
Freestyle Mustache
Freestyle Partial Beard {includes goatees, sideburns, etc.)
Best Fake Beard

SAC encourages participants to register online. Here, competitors can upload photos of their mugs and scope out the competition.

The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Center for Arts at the Armory, located at 191 Highland Avenue. There is a five dollar admission at the door, the proceeds of which will benefit the Somerville Arts Council.

There will also be music by DJ Pace, vendors, and a “Make-Your-Own-Beard” table, ensuring a fun time for everyone in the community.

“I’m hoping that it’s a good event [that will] bring people to the community to have a good time on a Saturday before the holiday season,” Easton said. “I’m just interested, as always, to see what turns out.”

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