Sometimes, I photograph an event that’s so very unusual and distinctive that I can’t imagine it not taking place in Portland. Last Saturday was one of those: I covered the 2012 West Coast Beard and Mustache Championships at the Crystal Ballroom, and the sheer magnitude of facial coifs was completely off the charts! There were painstakingly-styled beards, twirled-and-waxed mustaches, and just about any other variation you could hope to think of. Yes, there were even handmade girl beards, and a competition bracket for ladies who wanted to fashion a false facial fringe.

It didn’t just stop at grooming, however–some competitors made their beards and ‘staches the centerpiece of a full-on persona, complete with themed outfits to match their facial hair styling! Other competitors brought their own personal army of fans to rile up the crowd in their favor, screaming at bewhiskered contenders as if they were rock stars. If there’s a town on the planet that appreciates beards more than Portland does, I’d be surprised to hear it. These are just a few of the fans and competitors who flaunted their beardy glory.

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