Patrick “Redbeard” Vrolyk had some shining facial hair for the third round of the Okanagan Beard Festival which took place at the Nest and Nectar on Feb. 20. Vrolyk also has glass blowing art set to be featured in the upcoming Penticton Art Gallery exhibition Grassland in March and a YouTube show glass blowing show called The RedBeard Show where he lights it up every Saturday.

Ready, set, grow

The third annual Okanagan Beard Festivals in Penticton kicks off Monday night at the Cannery

It isn’t just length that matters in this male competition.

The third installment of the Okanagan Beard Festival is set to start Monday night at Cannery Brewing Co.

“There’s 12 categories. Everything is measured from starting night. There’s longest, thickest, most creative, beard mustache combo, gotee mustache combo and a bunch of others,” said Peter Beauchamp, owner of Okanoggin Barber Shop and Skaha Barber Shop.

“There’s guys who do things like put Christmas lights in, bird’s nests, dye it all so it looks like flames and wear firefighting outfits.”

This year mark’s the third for the now annual festival aimed at celebrating the beard. All proceeds raised through the festival is donated to Discovery House, a men’s residential addiction treatment program in Penticton.

Beauchamp said the support for the festival is “amazing,” with people coming as far west as Princeton and North to Armstrong.

“When we opened up here we knew we wanted to give back and we have this great charity here Discovery House It really is business supporting business too. We set this up to be at establishments on a Monday night at the slow part of the season. Every venue sells out, they have a superb night and we raise money for charity, people get to show off their beards and everyone gets to have a lot of fun,” he said.

Beauchamp said contestant numbers continue to grow each year. Online polls and R.S.V.P. and emails indicate there will be between 80 to 100 entrants this year. That’s almost double the first year when there was 42. Last year there was 58 entrants.

The men are vying for a spot in the prestigious Okanagan Beard Festival calendar and bragging rights. The barber who has the most number of winning clients will be named Barber of the Year.

The 12-week competition kicks off Mon., Jan. 29 at Cannery Brewing Co. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The first night judges measure each man’s beard and take photos. Registration is $25.

On one Monday night a month until April, men get a chance to strut their stuff in front of the packed house, building up to the finale on April 30.

Dates are as follows:

Mon., Jan. 29 – Cannery Brewing Co. (6-9pm)

Mon., Feb. 26 – Craft Corner Kitchen (6-9pm)

Mon., Mar. 26 – The Nest & Nectar (6-9pm)

Mon., Apr. 16 – Cannery Brewing Co. (6-9pm)

Mon., Apr. 30 – The Barking Parrot Bar (6-9pm)

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