This weekend our small town of Ashley, ND celebrates its 125th year! Small town celebrations here in North Dakota are a big deal and draw large crowds from far and wide. There are live events like concerts and magicians, there are old time events like street races and tractor pulls, and there is a lot of food, drinks, and good times to be had all weekend long.
But one of the highlights of the Ashley 125th Celebration was the beard growing contest. Yes, you read that right. Beard growing contest. You see, this is a tradition that happened 25 years ago when our town celebrated 100 years. The men participating start in beginning of January with a clean shaven face. And then basically let ‘er grow. Men all around town have been sporting beards and many of them you don’t even recognize them due to all that hair growing on their face!
This year the second generation of men alongside their uncles, fathers, and brothers, got up on stage and strutted their stuff. There was a trimmed category, a full beard category, a best attempt category, and a little shaver’s category. The men were judged and awarded prizes for first, second, and third place from the Brothers of the Brush. Many of the men proudly wore their Brothers of the Brush pins. An elite club of men with pretty epic beards.
I am not quite sure how beards were perceived 25 years ago, but there is one thing that is for sure today. Beards have become a mainstream, almost trendy thing for men to sport. The Duck Dynasty guys are at the forefront of the Beard trend, more and more celebrities are seen sporting a beard, and of course the Giants pitcher Brian Wilson and his “fear the beard” tagline have all become pop culture.
I guess it’s safe to say that beards are becoming more popular than ever, not only in pop culture, but also consistently showing up in social media, the subject of Meme’s, Buzzfeed even gave us 23 reasons why Beard Men are Better.. Beards are becoming a fashion statement for men. The consensus from the women-folk is mixed. Some like it, some hate it, some are impartial.
It will be interesting to see how many of these men choose to keep it going or shave it off! There were some pretty impressive beards! Which is your favorite?
The 125th celebration will continue on throughout the weekend, but I just had to share photos from the beard growing contest. And I am chalking it up on the list of reasons why I adore North Dakota!