The Okanagan Beard Festival FUNraiser kicks off in Penticton this February 4th!
By Monique Tamminga
Beards are bushy, beautiful and bold and they are growing in style and popularity. We’ve seen it on hockey players, hipsters, dads and men in their 20s. And now there’s a contest where you can show off your face hair and all its crumb-catching glory.
The Okanagan Beard Festival is right around the corner, starting Feb. 4 at the Cannery Brewing Co.
Going into its fourth year, the festival is co-produced by Tim Tweed of Splendid Bastard Beard Supply and Peter Beauchamp of Okanoggin Barber Shop, both in Pentiction. The pair say they’ve seen major growth in both the popularity of facial hair and interest in their beard contest.
“Beards are so popular – it’s definitely a growth industry,” joked Tim who is owner and operator of Splendid Bastard beard grooming products that are locally produced right here in Penticton.
“The beard festival is something unique and fun to do in winter when there isn’t much going on,” said Tim. “It’s been a great way to get together over a beer and a laugh.”
Co-producer of the festival is Peter Beauchamp — owner of Okanoggin Barber Shop in Penticton.
The two are proudly bearded and have been hosting the Okanagan Beard Festival for four years.
The festival isn’t meant to be serious, they said.
“This is a FUNraiser. We aren’t trying to be serious. We get to have fun and do it for a really worthy cause, Discovery House which is a recovery house for men right here in Penticton,” said Tim.
So far, their ‘fun’draiser has raised more than $8,5,000 for Discovery House, which goes a long way to helping men with addictions.
Last year, more than 70 beards and moustaches were registered in the competition.
So here’s how the beard contest works. There are four rounds, or beard bouts if you will, with the finale being April 15 at the Barking Parrot.
People who want to enter the contest have to register for $25 in person on Feb. 4 at Cannery Brewing Co. on Ellis St. from 6 to 9 p.m. Last year, 70 beards were registered.
There they will have their beard measured and scored from a panel of judges. A professional photographer will take a profile picture to mark the start of beard festival and hair growing.
The bearded group will have another measurement and get together on Feb. 25 and March 25 at the Barking Parrot.
Last year’s finale was a huge success, raising $4,200 for Discovery House and having lots of fun doing it.
Get Bent belly dancers got the competitors on stage for a demo dancing session. Other years they have had live performances. This year’s entertainment is to be announced.
There are 12 categories in the contest. Beards and moustaches will be judged on growth, styling and creativity.
And creative they were!
“Last year we had a glitter beard, some lit their beards up with lights, there was a bird’s nest in a beard and one guy dressed up like a fireman and had a fire red beard,” said Tim.
“It’s a great spectators event and great time all around,” he added.
Besides bragging rights of having the best beard of the Okanagan, winners get plaques and are featured in the limited-edition Beards of Okanagan 2020 calendar.
“This year we are lucky to work with Life and Love Photography who have donated their time,” he said.
Photography company Something Blue has also been wonderful, taking the photos during the finale.