So you read  about the upcoming National Beard and Mustache Championships in Bend, Oregon. But where the hell is your local fix for competitive bearding? Well fear not, my sweets -- beards are popping up in the budding Bay summer like chanterelles ‘neath the roots of California oaks and conifers (metaphor courtesy of David Arora ). We just couldn’t be happier about it. On Thu/27, Edinburgh Castle will be hosting its own charity showdown of the beard bedecked to benefit Smile Train , a group that helps kids with cleft palates. SFBG just received word of from event organizer Brian McGregor, who is a cultivator of a smashing Imperial ‘stache himself. Brian, tell us more!
San Francisco Bay Guardian: What attracts you to the bearding scene?
Brian McGregor: I'm a visual artist, and growing my Imperial partial beard and mustache has allowed me to use my face as a canvas, sculpting a unique style known to some as "Art on my Face." In terms of my attraction to bearding, it’s an effortless hobby that comes and grows. When people ask me why I grow it, I typically respond by saying it’s not something I chose to grow, rather it chose me.
SFBG: Are you competing at Bend? If so, how long have you been competing, and in what category and subcategory do you compete?
BM: I will be competing in Bend, and it will be my first national competition. However, I do have some East coast wins under my belt. I'm registered in the partial beard and mustache category and have been growing for over a year.
SFBG: Who do you expect to compete at Edinburgh Castle? Why did you pick that bar as your venue?
BM: So far the event promises to be packed full of facial hair enthusiasts. We have two well known local competitors attending, Jack Passion and Xavier Marvel -- but there is sure to be many other worthy opponents. In terms of the venue I wanted a non-judgmental place associated with history and culture. My great-grandfathers all had tremendous facial hair, something which has always been prominent in my family. Since I'm the first generation off the boat from Scotland, and after speaking with Alan Black [bar manager at the Castle], and hearing his wondrous thick accent, Edinburgh Castle seemed the most appropriate place to celebrate the event.
SFBG: Why doesn't San Francisco have its own bearding chapter? So many other cities do, do we not merit our own team of beards?
BM: Good question. I was born in Boston and perhaps felt I wanted a native to the Bay area to take action. However, Thursday night I will have an email sign up to join San Francisco's Beard and Mustache Society. I will be recruiting a team to start this new chapter, bring facial hair awareness to people of all ages.
SFBG: Any last words for your bearding public?
BM: Keep in mind this event is also a fundraiser. All the money raised at the door benefits Smile Train, which helps kids receive surgery and care who have been born with a cleft palate. With such a great cause, this will sure be an evening not to miss. After San Francisco and Bend, I will be traveling to Manchester Tennessee where I will be hosting a Beard and Mustache Competition for 80,000 people at Bonnaroo, a four day music and arts festival. I will have the stage each day where registration, judging, and performances by the band Flavor Savers will take place. I also have a fleet of rickshaws designated for Mustache Rides, so if anyone if heading to Bonnaroo be sure to say hello!
"Art in Your Face": A Bay Area Beard and Mustache Benefit
Thurs/27 6-10 p.m., $5
950 Geary, SF