Brrs, Beards and Brews: a Lumberjack Festival

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If you’re a lumberjack or lumberjane, Feb. 24 was the time to celebrate it. Old Town in Lansing hosted its second annual Lumberjack Festival on Turner Street and welcomed anyone over the age of 21.

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Lisa Howard selling handcrafted wool mittens, known as Smitten with the Mittens on Turner Street.

From mittens to bourbon, the outdoor vendors featured a variety of products and samples for passerby. Founders, a Grand Rapids brewery, supplied beer.

The Feats of Strength welcomed teams of four-to-five players who were in for some friendly competition.Teams were tested on speedy wood-chopping, knot-untangling, and tug-of-war skills. Teams were easily spotted as members matched colors and some had their  group name on their shirts.

Chris Frank, a member of the Murder City Facial Hair Crew, came to the festival last year and returned to compete in the beard and mustache competition.

“I compete with the crew all across the United States and Canada,” said Frank. “It’s always for charity and a good way to get out there and meet great people.”

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Chris Frank, left, and Andrew Marenda showing off their “beard bling” before the beard and mustache competition

Andrew Marenda heard about the festival from a friend in the same crew as Frank, and competed in the beard and mustache competition for the first time.

“He said ‘hey, this is something you should try to get into. It’s a good way to socialize and network with good people.’”

The beard and mustache competitions are a crowd favorite because both men and women have a chance to compete.

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Former winner Lillian Werbin waits for pizza before defending her title at the women’s beard and mustache competition.

Former competitor of the women’s beard competition Lillian Werbin is competing again to maintain her status as last year’s reigning champ.

“I felt very strongly about coming back to defend my title,” said Werbin. “I really appreciate being here for the two years it’s been going on.”

Werbin’s beard is comprised of old and new hair extensions that are weaved together. The process took about six hours to make.

Admission was free with the suggestion of a $10 donation to support future events in Old Town.

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