A line a block long formed in front of the Blockley Saturday evening, well before the 7PM general admission time to the East Coast Beard and Mustache championship. But, even if you weren’t aware of what event was happening that evening, just observing those standing in line would have given you an insight as to what was taking place. A man in full Star Wars TIE fighter regalia, with a TIE fighter (complete with Luke and R2D2) was ahead of me in line, and drew gasps of amazement from passersby, and not a few photos. Once inside the sold out event, which ultimately drew 700 or so to the crowded venue, all sorts of things were to be had for the barbate and bewhiskered crowd - T-shirts proclaiming various beard and mustache club emblems, raffles, even a “rock, paper, scissors” tournament being held simultaneously.
Judges for the evening’s events were local hair stylist Holly Hox; Chubbs, bartender extrodinare from Tattooed Mom’s; Don Polec, local television personality; Rich Siegel, developer of the “Beard Wars” app for the iPad and iPhone; and, Robert Steven Krauss, owner of the American Barber Company in Collegeville, PA.
The participants were broken down into fourteen various categories, including “Full Beard Natural”, “Freestyle Beard” and “Styled Mustache.” There were even categories for female participants, including “Fake Beard Most Realistic.” Most, if not all, the participants came on stage to loud applause and calls from the audience, proclaiming their name, what state they hailed from (many of the participants came from the “Great State” of Texas, much to the chagrin of host Brandon Biggins) and, their club affiliation. Quite a few took the the festivities even further, not only sporting their follicles for all to see, but dressing in various costumes that suited their specific facial hairstyle.
The event was lighthearted, to say the least, and proceeds went to Operation Ava, a no-kill pet rescue organization based in Northern Liberties.
Friday night, the participants stopped by South Street staple Tattooed Mom's as part of the festivities and Liz DeMartino stopped by to check it out.