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Festival beard contest continues to grow

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Movember may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean men across the province will have to bid adieu to facial hair.


The Festival du Voyageur’s 31st annual Festival Beard Contest will kick off Thurs., Dec. 13th at Le Garage Café from 5 to 8 p.m.


Pre-registration isn’t required, but people interested in participating are expected to show up clean-shaven and grow their beards until the contest wraps up Feb. 22.


"We encourage people to come down with their registration and hang out with us because it’s a really fun event," said Julien Desaulniers, artistic producer for Festival du Voyageur.


"There’s going to be music and we’re going to get about five media personalities to get straight-razor shaves on site that night. It’s going to be quite the jovial atmosphere."


One media personality who participated last year was Shaw TV reporter Jeremy Williams.


"It seemed like a good way to promote the Festival while at the same time having a great excuse other than the normal ‘laziness’ not to shave," Williams said. "It was tons of fun."


Participating contestants are encouraged to collect donations during their growing efforts with all proceeds going to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.


There’s even perks for participants, too.


"If you raise over $100 your $35 registration fee gets waived," Desaulniers said. "Participants will also receive a souvenir pass that includes a 10-day pass to the Festival and an official event T-shirt, too. It’s incentive to raise money. It’s not hard to raise $100. Ten people, ten bucks."


The festival beard category is still relatively new compared to the traditional voyageur (wild and woolly) and novelty (groomed beard and/or moustache) categories that are also open to the public.


"Before it was more of a novelty competition with different styles of beards," Desaulniers said. "People take those categories seriously. People still take pride in their beards. This one is a little more easy going."


It’s that sense of pride that led Williams  to decide he won’t participate in this year’s contest.


"I’ve got a huge crush on the moustache I’m currently rocking," he said. "I just really need to give this moustache the chance at a good life but I think I’ll be back to the beard growing competition next year."


"People really enjoy it. It’s always a big event for us," Desaulniers added. "We’re excited to do it."

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