With a long history of being both revered and derided, the beard has been seen as both a symbol of wealth and power and the sign of a slacker.
But Saturday at Dunedin Brewery, the mustache, mutton chop and full-on lumberjack will rule the day, as Tampa Bay men will compete to prove their beardliness.
The Beardsman Contest will divided into nine competitions, five for full beards and four for mustaches and partial beards. Categories include full beard, longest beard, best sideburns and freestyle beard.
Entry to the event costs $15 and vegan-friendly food will be on hand for an extra $5. All door money will be donated to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council which provides health care to the homeless with mental illnesses.
Organizer Austin Thomas started the beard-appreciation site beardsman.com as an ironic tribute to chin fuzz — basically, a joke among friends. But as it began to take shape, Thomas figured he might be able to use his Web site to effect change. So with tongue in cheek, he set out to find funny ways to seriously help a large, bearded demographic: the homeless.
Selling beard-themed merchandise — like a T-shirt bearing a bearded heart — raised a meager amount of money. But the idea of a contest seemed the best way to raise funds and awareness.
And who knows, a jewel of the manscaped chin-lawn could pop up.
"We could find the holy grail of beards," said Thomas. "It could start at the eyelids and go to the belly, or it could be wall-to-wall carpet."