The mane event! Beard-and-mustache contest comes to Coney

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Photo gallery

Fake and fabulous: Lee VaLone and Karen Abraham competed in the “Hokum and Hoodwinked” category for best fake facial hair. VaLone won first place for his scarlet beard.
Moustachio marvel: Christian Battarusso was thrilled with his win in the best natural mustache category.
Flying Kavadlo brothers: Competition judges and human strength performers Danny and Al Kavatlo entertained the crowd during the intermission.
Stylin’: Spikey Mike took first place for the best freestlye beard.
Facial hair camaraderie: Alas Paul Burke did not win for best natural beard, but he left with plenty of fond memories and inspiration for beard and mustache designs.
Success!: Bert Mayer won for best styled beard with his tentacle-like pride and joy.
Al naturale: Joseph Franquinha competed in the Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition on Sept. 3 and won the “Man or Beast” category for best natural beard with his 11-inch mane.

It was a furry face-off!

Competitors displayed their most extravagant facial hair at the Ninth Annual Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition on Sept. 3, vying for bragging rights and a shot at the coveted Beard and Moustache Fez trophy. The competition was a fierce tangle of dozens of fluffed-out beards and sculpted mustaches. But the Boardwalk bristle fest went beyond competition and urged a fellowship among facial hair fans, said one participant.

“It was very jovial and upbeat. Yeah it’s a competition, but at the end of day, it’s a deep camaraderie among follicly blessed dudes,” said Joseph Franquinha, winner of the “Man or Beast” category, which judges the best natural beard. “It’s just a bunch of knuckleheads that want to hang out and be goofy.”

The event featured nine categories including “The Brass Ring” for best in show, “Coney Island Curl” for best-styled mustache, and the fan-favorite “Carney Trash” for worst in show. Those who used little wax to style their hair competed in the best natural ’stache or beard categories.

Franquinha’s roughly 11-inch beard is a labor of love that he keeps surprisingly simple, he said.

“Patience is the key to growing a beard and simplicity to grooming it,” Franquinha said. “Some people over think it and try all these products — keep it real simple.”

For those who don’t have the patience to grow a beard — or who simply lack the ability — the “Hokum and Hoodwinked” category for best fake facial hair gave Brooklynites a chance to invent twisted creations including a beard of miniature snakes and a beard made of circus peanuts and candies.

One contestant even turned her head into a mermaid with painted sea shells on her eyes, a headband with a doll head, and the beard as the scaled tail.

“It was a really fun celebration of masculinity and what ever that means to you without being machismo,” said Lee VaLone, winner of the best fake facial hair category for a scarlet beard made from a deconstructed wig. “It was a bunch of silly guys doing silly things.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

JUSTINE SWARTZ from Brooklyn Heights says:
Needed more pictures to accompany the Great
Sept. 8, 2016, 10:31 am
Michael says:
Karen was robbed.
Firstly, Lee La Vone's wig was deconstructed. He should have been disqualified for not have a completely constructed entry.
Secondly, red is a very angry color. Does this contest intend to promote anger, our happiness?
Thirdly, I was not "hood winked". Anyone could see it is fake. No tricking anyone with that thing.
I don't mean to start any rumors, but one had to wonder if bribery was involved in this decision. Of course La Vone has not made any denial of this possibility, only furthering the suspicion that money came into play so that the inferior fake hair would win. Atrocious.
Sept. 8, 2016, 2:46 pm

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