Who has the best beard?

It takes a certain kind of man to wear a beard.

Just ask Nick Bua of the Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club, the hosts of the fourth annual East Coast Beard and Mustache Championship, Saturday at TLA on South Street.

“You have to have an open personality when you’re doing something as bold as having a big beard,” says Bua, who sports an impressive Alaskan whaler beard: Think Gregory Peck in “Moby Dick.”

“People will shout from a car driving by, ‘Hey, nice beard!’ It feels good, whoever says it doesn’t is lying,” he continues. “You can shave and fit in and not deal with anybody and nobody deals with you. But when you have a beard, people feel like they can talk to you. You don’t take yourself too serious.”

Yet, these guys do take their beards seriously.

“My beard has started more conversations with random people walking down the street,” said member Brad Kingett, 27 of Sewell, New Jersey, who has a long, red beard. “My girlfriend has gotten mad. We go to a restaurant and I’m wearing a T-shirt and jeans and she’s dressed up, looking nice and people at the restaurant will stop and say, ‘Oh my God, I really love your beard!’”

On Saturday, Beefcake the Mighty from GWAR, Ray Mazzola of Full Blown Chaos and Jeff Langum, the Philly beard club president and winner of full beard title at the world championships in Germany, will be among those judging in more than a dozen categories.

There’s even two female categories for most realistic and most creative. By the way, the guys would welcome any gals with real beards into the club, which numbers about 30 now.

“We’d love to have a bearded women as a judge, a contestant or as a member of the club,” says Bua, 30 of Newark, Del. “We haven’t been lucky enough to find one yet but they do exist.”

Unsurprisingly, the event is sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon. Proceeds benefit PAWS.

East Coast Beard and Mustache Championship

Saturday, 7 p.m.

Theatre of Living Arts

334 South St.



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