CONEY ISLAND — The competition was fierce Saturday as unshorn Brooklynites gathered on the Coney Island Boardwalk for the 12th annual Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition.
Participants paid $25 to enter the fuzzy-faced faceoff, held at circus performance venue Sideshows by the Seashore, to determine who would take home this year’s Beard & Moustache Fez and other prizes.
Categories included “The Brass Ring” (Best in Show), “Coney Island Curl” (Best Styled Mustache), “Man or Beast” (Best Natural Beard) and “Carny Trash” (Worst in Show).
The competitors didn’t have to be male: ladies and other folically-challenged participants rivaled for the “Hokum and Hoodwinked” prize for Best Fake Beard or Moustache.
Coney Island born-and-raised performer Adam “Realman” Rinn, currently dean of Coney Island’s Sideshow School, produced and emceed the contest. Prominent Coney Island community members Ronnie Parisella, Xander Lovecraft, Katherine Telesca, Matt Chrystal and Larry Ratso Sloman presided as judges.
This year’s Best in Show prize went to Christian Fattuorusso. Antony Solino won Best Partial Beard/Chops, Mark Burdick won Best Styled Beard, Rob Romeo won Best Styled Moustache, Chris Kniotek won Best Fake Beard or Moustache, Tommy ‘Popeye’ Papows won Best Natural Beard and Danny Boy won Best Natural Moustache.
Lovecraft, star of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, entertained spectators, along with Coney Island performers Serpentina and the Flying Kavadlo Brothers.
The Coney Island Beard and Mustache Competition was launched in 2008 and has since grown into the longest-running facial hair competition on the East Coast, according to Rinn, and the only facial hair competition in the city.
“This is more than just a beard competition,” said Rinn. “It’s some of the wackiest entertainment in the birthplace of wacky entertainment.”