Richmond is going to be even fuzzier for a weekend this April.
Richmond is going to be even fuzzier for a weekend this April. The RVA Beard League will host the fourth annual Mid-Atlantic Beard and Mustache Championships, entitled “Boldly Grow,” at The Canal Club.
The competition is simple- participants compete in one of 14 categories and are judged on the style, function and length of their beard or mustache. The un-bearded (beardless?) can compete as well, with categories for “Fake Creative” and “Fake Realistic” available for those who cannot grow facial hair, but still want to show off their artistic/crafty skills with an artificial beard.
The Championships and the RVA Beard League are more than just celebrations of facial hair, they raise money for charity and do work in the community. The organization’s mission is to “grow respect for facial hair through community service, charitable fundraising and camaraderie.”
This year’s subject of the fundraiser is for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Last year’s 3rd annual championships raised $12,200 for Safe Harbor Shelter. And as for community outreach, the weekend’s events include a volunteer opportunity cleaning up trash on Belle Isle.
Each year, the championship events are themed. This year’s theme, ‘Boldly Grow’ shows the many beards present in space travel, with the tagline “The future looks awesome, let’s work to keep it that way.”
“Virginia and the mid-atlantic in general has a lot of roots with the US aerospace programs,” Chad Roberts, President and Founder of RVA Beard League said. “It kind of seemed like a nice way to have a theme for the competition and kind of tie it in with state pride.”
This is the biggest championship event thus far, with more events, categories and expected participants. Many of those who participate are repeat participants.
“A number of our guys have been doing it for several years and a number of them are growing into bigger categories,” Roberts said.
The event also looks to adapt each year. Roberts said that this year the competition has added a “Whaler” style beard- whiskers with no mustache, like Abraham Lincoln- because it has recently come into fashion.
Competition is not the only facet of the weekend. A swath of space and follicle themed events are available, including a Friday night welcome party and “hangover brunch” on Sunday morning.
“Maybe 25 or 30 percent [of participants] come from out of town,” said Roberts. “So we try and be as hospitable as possible and if you’ve come to town its like ‘Alright, I’m in Richmond, now what?’ So we try to have some activities geared to them to kind of show off Richmond.”
RVA Beard League knows Richmond is pro-beard, and these kind of events get to show that to locals and those outside the region.
“If you’ve walked through Richmond at anytime in recent years you’ll see that there’s a decent facial hair contingency here in town,” said Roberts. “So what we’re doing is a fun charity event, so we hope anyone who has or likes beards and mustaches will come out. It’s really open to anyone.”
The Fourth Annual Mid-Atlantic Beard and Mustache Championships will be held the weekend of April 25, 2015 at The Canal Club in Shockoe Bottom. Tickets can be purchased here.