Bitter cold weather couldn’t keep more than 100 beards — and the men attached to them — from competing at the annual Winter Beard & Mustache contest Sunday.
Carefully styled facial hair graced the stage all afternoon and into the evening as 106 contestants showcased their best feature.
The third annual contest moved upstairs from the Dangerous Man Brewing Company to a more spacious room in the Solar Arts building in northeast Minneapolis.
MJ Johnson, who founded the Minneapolis Beard and Mustache Club, was concerned that people wouldn’t leave their homes to attend the event.
By midafternoon Sunday, Johnson said he was surprised of the large turnout.
Those who braved the far-below-zero windchill to attend saw some of the nation’s most elaborate beards. Contestants used hair spray, oils, even egg whites to shine and shape their beards for judging. Several flew in from other states to compete in seven categories, such as fake beards, all-natural and freestyle, and Best in Show. The grand prize? One free beer per day from Dangerous Man for a year.
Matthew Johnson, originally from Grand Rapids, Minn., was visiting from northern California to “mingle with like-minded people” and see family and friends. Johnson spoke of the men competing as if they were all in a secret club, bound by beard oil.
He entered his 18-inch beard in the Full Beard Natural category.
“It started as a bet about five years ago … and I still have it,” Johnson said.
On Sunday, 8-year-old Preston Mescall accompanied his father, Dennis, onto the stage during the Freestyle category.
The Mescall men had similar beards. Dennis shaped his facial hair into several circles. Preston, who won a children’s category at a recent competition in Madison, Wis., wore a smaller beard using faux fur. Dennis, 34, of Rice, Minn., went on to win Best in Show.
Andrea Mescall said last year her family traveled to five beard competitions.
“It’s become a family hobby,” Andrea Mescall said. “We also run into other families at these competitions, too.”