The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 21, 2013

Who will win by a whisker?

Fervor grows for bicentennial contest

— LEWISBURG — Start your stubble, gentlemen, it’s the return of Brothers of the Brush, a facial-hair competition first held during Union County’s sesquicentennial in 1963 but with a full 2013 twist in this bicentennial year.

Honors are up for grabs in eight beard categories: longest, bushiest, most complicated, tidiest, multicolored (not necessarily natural color) and also best goatee, side burns and mustache.

Participants have until Nov. 17 to ditch the razor and let it all grow in time for review by three judges: Union County beauticians Wendy Beaver of New Columbia, Lisa Snook of University Hair Design in Lewisburg and Sheila Snyder of Laurelton. Judging takes place at 1:30 p.m. at the Dale/Engle/Walker farm house.

Really, what is a bicentennial celebration without a beard-growing contest?

That’s what people around Union County seemed to think as inquiries poured in about another Brothers of the Brush competition, said Union County Commissioner John Showers, who also sits on the bicentennial committee.

“One fellow at Christkindl last year brought pictures with him of what he looked like at the last judging contest,” said Showers, who told fellow committee members of the grassroots effort.

“I heard enough to know that people were looking for it to happen again. We have a very full schedule of events this year, but I didn’t think it was too late to do this.”

Showers is taking part, having ditched the razor Sept. 1.

“It’s a little grayer than I’d like,” he said of his new scruff.

Fellow Union County officials William Deitrick of the conservation district and Greg Katherman of the board of elections are taking part, and county employee Randy Ross is making a moment of his beard.

Once his reaches 10 inches, he will cut it and donate it to Locks of Love, a nonprofit group that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Ross’ mother is marking 10 cancer-free years in 2013, and she was the inspiration.

“Beards have been in and out of fashion through the years,” said Jeannette Lasansky, president of the Union County Historical Society and a bicentennial committee member. “Sometimes it’s more moustaches and less beards. We figure they can do it all.”

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