Beard festival heads into final round

The first-ever best beard of the Okanagan Bear Festival will be named on April 25 at the Cannery.

Gentlemen, ready your beards.

The Okanagan Beard Festival enters its final round on April 25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. right back where it began in February, at the Cannery Brewing Co.

Contestants have made their way through three rounds of judging, measurements and facial hair scrutiny kicking off at the Cannery in February  followed by The Copper Mug Pub and the Barking Parrot.

The measurements have been taken and the beards compared, now it’s time to find out who won. Winners will be announced and awards will be presented, as 47 beard-growers hope to walk away as top dog in one of the 12 categories including best beard, longest beard, thickest beard, most original, best styled moustache and people’s choice.

The final event will also feature a fun question and answer period.

“Similar to a beauty pageant where they ask them really inane questions and hopefully were going to get some fun answers,” said Timothy Tweed, event co-organizer and owner of Splendid Bastard Beard Supply.

Tweed said the festival has been fun so far, and there were even a few surprises in measuring beard fullness in round two.

“We had some little surprises in there for Peter (Beauchamp) our measurer. Somebody had a joint hidden in a beard, and somebody had a pencil or something,” Tweed laughed. “You know your beard is pretty thick when you can stash some items in there.”

There has been a positive response to the festival, started by Tweed and Okanoggin Barbershop owner Peter Beauchamp as a chance to pit the beards they helped create around town against each other.

“Because it’s the first event of its kind here in the Okanagan we had no idea what to expect. We were hoping for a couple of dozen contestants, but we had 47 guys registered,” Tweed said.

It has been a learning experience for the competitors as well, Tweed said, as many beard-growers have upped their game since the initial round in February.

“Early on they were a little rough in comparison to the last couple rounds. Now these guys are getting really, really serious about their beard grooming. They’re taking it very seriously, booking appointments with the barber, getting their grooming done the day of the event,” Tweed said. “There’s been some really amazing transformations if you saw some of the guys from round one and see what they look like now. It was incredible the transformation in some people.

The festival hopes to return next year.

“I don’t see any reason why not. We’re learning along the way the different processes and trying to make it fun and enjoyable for everyone and I think all the guys have really been enjoying the process. The camaraderie too, everybody is pretty supportive of each other and you see some good friendships happening,” Tweed said.

The event has raised over $1,000 for Discovery House, a local recovery house for men.

Tickets to the finale are $10 and available at the Okanoggin Barbershop (254 Ellis St.). Partial proceeds will be donated to the Discovery House as well.

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