EDITORIAL: Beardfest leads off winter events

The event known as the Great Nordic Beardfest has grown so big that it now takes place over two nights in two locations and includes three musical acts.
We’ve watched this event grow and much of the credit needs to go to Shaun Chosa, who founded the event and has organized and promoted it since its inception.
Chosa has found an event that fits Ely well and can bring in folks from all over. He’s proven this event can be done here and that the only thing that may hold it back in the future is lodging.
The Great Nordic Beardfest started last night at the Boathouse Brewpub and wraps up tonight at Ely’s Historic State Theater on Feb. 5, all part of the two-day End of the Road Beard and Mustache Championships.
Some of the highlights of the first night include a pair of belt competitions that will be decided bracket-style, with contestants squaring off one-on-one in a tournament format until there’s a winner, with crowd noise deciding each winner.
The first night leads into a grand event at the State Theater- one that combines judging in five categories as well as three musical acts.
Judging in the beard and mustache competition comes in these categories; Bearded Lady, Mustache, Freestyle, Full Beard Natural 6-inch and under, Full Beard Natural 6-inch and over.
In addition, trophies will be awarded in other categories including Best Costume, Ladies Choice and several others.
Chosa has worked hard to get this event to a new level, especially with having to deal with Covid restrictions the past two years. This year he’s got a great line up of musical acts to go with the competition itself.
The event also serves as a fundraiser for local charity each year, and this year donations will be collected to benefit Ely Community Resource.
If you get a chance, check out the Great Nordic Beardfest and if you see Shaun, tell him thank you for all of his work to make this event a success.
Ely can use more events like this one, especially in the cold of winter and it’s the perfect start to the Ely Winter Festival as well.