Whisker Contest Brings 1,000 Beard Fans to Brooklyn
GREENPOINT — Myk O'Connor has carted his waist-length facial fur around the country and has competed against 5-feet-long dreadlocks that sprouted from an Ohio motorcyclist's chin.
But O'Connor, organizer of the 3rd Annual Beard and Mustache Competition, said anybody with a bit of scruff have the chance of victory at this Saturday's Greenpoint event.
"All facial hair is valid. You may win," said O'Connor, 29, president of the Gotham City Beard Alliance.
The contest has more than a dozen categories including goatee, "freestyle" and beard longer than a foot.
"This year we have the 'college beard' for ages 18 to 23, or for those who can't grow a full beard," he said.
The diversity of the competition, combined with O'Connor's role on the IFC television show "Whisker Wars," has sparked such popularity that this year's showdown is moving to a venue accommodating 1,000 attendees, O'Connor said.
"We hit capacity at (our last venue) Club Europa with 600 people, so we've moved it to the Warsaw," said O'Connor, who travels at least once each month to beard competitions nationwide.
"We have people from all over the country, from California, Florida and a lot of locals. It's just a huge party for us."
This is also the first year the event will meet "national standards," which include a minimum of 10 categories and two women's categories ("most natural" and "most creative"), O'Connor said.
"People feel neglected if they have to compete against somebody with a huge goatee like an Abe Lincoln chin strap," explained O'Connor, who works buying beer for Whole Foods Market.
"We have more categories, so people have more chances to win."
This year's competition will be held at 261 Driggs Ave. in Greenpoint.
In addition to the contest, the weekend includes a bar crawl kick-off Friday night and a Sunday "hangover brunch" where organizers and participants can reflect on the big day.
"Within the community of facial-hair enthusiasts, we’ve become a huge family," O'Connor said. "It's like a big family reunion."
The 3rd Annual Beard and Mustache Competition costs $15 for entrance in advance, and $20 at the door. All proceeds go to benefit the NYC M.S. Society. More information can be found on the Gotham City Beard Alliance's website.