2016 Closing Ceremonies – PRESS RELEASE

Ron Vener- Big Earner, Overall Winner

Ron Vener- Big Earner, Overall Winner

The Cover Your Chin for Charity Closing Ceremonies were held Saturday evening to a packed house in the Easton Armory. The event which culminated 3 months of contestants growing facial hair and raising money for four local charities, raised over $20,000. The charities that were featured included Character Counts, Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers, the Veterans Fund program at the Mental Health Association in Talbot County, and Pet Pantries.

“Kids, vets and pets has been our focus since year one and I am not sure we will deviate from that.  It has worked very well,” said Adam Theeke, one of the three founders of the event.

Theeke, along with Joel Shilliday and Andrew Southworth, started the event in 2013 in an attempt to raise money for local charities in a silly way and with a closing event anyone could come to.

“There a lot of great fundraisers in the area, but the cost of some the tickets to those fundraisers seemed exclusionary to me. We wanted something that anyone could attend with a small donation,” Shilliday stated.

The minimum donation of $25 gets the donor a ticket to the catered event that features a donation bar, a silent auction, and dancing in between the competitions.

This year’s crowd of approximately two hundred people were treated to four categories of contestants vying for awards in the best mustache, partial beard, full beard and existing beard categories. Existing beard is a new category this year, allowing contestants who didn’t want to shave at all to compete.

David Ferraris- Best Mustache

David Ferraris- Best Mustache

The three other categories require contestants to shave their face completely in mid-October and grow back their facial hair over the three month time period as best they can. A panel of six judges then observe the contestants, or ‘growers’ as they are called, while mingling during the early evening. Each of the 37 on-hand contestants were allowed stage time in front of the audience and most entered to a song of their choosing, coordinated with DJ Groundhog. From Star Wars Obi wan Kenobi and Abraham Lincoln, to a short shorts clad mustachioed police officer and a Motorhead frontman look alike, the crowd was treated to entertaining showmanship and enthusiasm that kept them hooting and hollering into the evening.

When the judging was completed the winners included:

David Ferraris – Best Mustache

Dominic Szwaja – Best Partial Beard

Nate Southworth – Best Full Beard

Brian Tyler- Best Existing Beard

Brian Tyler- Best Existing Beard

Brian Tyler – Best Existing Beard.

The overall winner of the event is the grower who gathers the most donations. This year’s winner was Ron Vener, who earned over $2500 with donations from 60 different people. Vener was ecstatic after learning of his win.

Bottom line is this a great event run by great people who are doing the right thing to make a difference where they live,” Vener related.

“This event has always been about raising money and giving back. The beard contest is just a platform for doing so. We’ve surpassed $40,000 raised in 3 years.  That’s not too shabby,” Theeke chuckled.

The winners took home Rum from Lyon Distilling of St. Michaels, as well as gift cards from the many local businesses who donated to the event.

“This is an event to benefit the community. Local businesses and individuals alike don’t hesitate to help out. We had businesses angry with us this year because we didn’t ask them to donate a good or service,” Southworth explained. “All contestants are expected to earn at least a few hundred dollars. And we had a goal of $15,000 this year. The 46 growers did an excellent job of garnering donations and we exceeded our goal. It feels great,” Southworth continued.

Cover Your Chin for Charity is an annual beard growing contest that creates awareness in our community to benefit those in need; children, veterans and our furry-loved-ones. The proceeds benefit these existing 501c3 organizations who provide support to kids, vets, and pets.

The Cover Your Chin for Charity Fund is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, a public 501(c)(3) charity.  Contributions to the Fund are fully tax-deductible as allowable by law.  A copy of MSCF’s financial statement is available at mscf.org or by calling 410-820-8175.  Information about MSCF submitted under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act can be obtained from the office of the Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, MD  21401.

Author: Joel Shilliday

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