Coney Island

Hair today: Scenes from the Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition

September 9, 2019 Alex Williamson

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 and Moustache Fez and other prizes.

A flowered beard. Eagle photo by Corazon Aguirre

Categories included “The Brass Ring” (Best in Show), “Coney Island Curl” (Best-Styled Moustache), “Man or Beast” (Best Natural Beard) and “Carny Trash” (Worst in Show).

The competitors didn’t have to be male: Women and other follicly challenged participants rivaled for the “Hokum and Hoodwinked” prize (aka Best Fake Beard or Moustache).

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Curl-tastic. Eagle photo by Corazon Aguirre

Coney Island born-and-raised performer Adam “Realman” Rinn, currently dean of Coney Island’s Sideshow School, produced and emceed the contest. 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.

Christian and Luca Fattorusso. Eagle photo by Corazon Aguirre

Lovecraft, star of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, entertained spectators, along with Coney Island performers Serpentina and the Flying Kavadlo Brothers.

Thomas “Popeye” Papows. Eagle photo by Corazon Aguirre

The Coney Island Beard and Mustache Competition began in 2008 and has since grown into the longest-running facial hair competition on the East Coast, according to Rinn.


“This is more than just a beard competition,” said Rinn. “It’s some of the wackiest entertainment in the birthplace of wacky entertainment.”


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