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The mane event! Beard-and-mustache contest comes to Coney – Brooklyn Paper

The mane event! Beard-and-mustache contest comes to Coney

Fake and fabulous: Lee VaLone and Karen Abraham competed in the “Hokum and Hoodwinked” category for best fake facial hair. VaLone won first place for his scarlet beard.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

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.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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