It was a furry face-off!
Competitors displayed their most extravagant facial hair at the Ninth Annual Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition on Sept. 3, vying for bragging rights and a shot at the coveted Beard and Moustache Fez trophy. The competition was a fierce tangle of dozens of fluffed-out beards and sculpted mustaches. But the Boardwalk bristle fest went beyond competition and urged a fellowship among facial hair fans, said one participant.
“It was very jovial and upbeat. Yeah it’s a competition, but at the end of day, it’s a deep camaraderie among follicly blessed dudes,” said Joseph Franquinha, winner of the “Man or Beast” category, which judges the best natural beard. “It’s just a bunch of knuckleheads that want to hang out and be goofy.”
The event featured nine categories including “The Brass Ring” for best in show, “Coney Island Curl” for best-styled mustache, and the fan-favorite “Carney Trash” for worst in show. Those who used little wax to style their hair competed in the best natural ’stache or beard categories.
Franquinha’s roughly 11-inch beard is a labor of love that he keeps surprisingly simple, he said.
“Patience is the key to growing a beard and simplicity to grooming it,” Franquinha said. “Some people over think it and try all these products — keep it real simple.”
For those who don’t have the patience to grow a beard — or who simply lack the ability — the “Hokum and Hoodwinked” category for best fake facial hair gave Brooklynites a chance to invent twisted creations including a beard of miniature snakes and a beard made of circus peanuts and candies.
One contestant even turned her head into a mermaid with painted sea shells on her eyes, a headband with a doll head, and the beard as the scaled tail.
“It was a really fun celebration of masculinity and what ever that means to you without being machismo,” said Lee VaLone, winner of the best fake facial hair category for a scarlet beard made from a deconstructed wig. “It was a bunch of silly guys doing silly things.”