Buffalo beard competition planned without use of taxpayer funding!


The owners of Macky’s Essex Street Pub in Buffalo have come up with what would be a revolutionary idea in Niagara Falls. They’re staging an entertainment event and not asking the government for any money to make it happen.

Unlike the Hard Rock Café concert series, the Niagara Falls Blues Festival, the Holiday Market, Gospel Fest, the Art of Beer Festival and the Ontario House Jazz Festival which are just a few of the events that Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster has thrown millions of dollars at during his almost nine years in office.

In North Tonawanda and Lockport, concert promoters pay the municipality for the opportunity to make money staging musical concerts but, in Niagara Falls, it’s the other way around.

And down in Buffalo, the owners of the Essex Street Pub at 5:30 Rhode Island St., have – for the past seven years – staged their annual Buffalo Beard Competition, a moneymaker for the bar and a chance for the Nickel City hirsute to revel in the glory of their beards and mustaches.

This should interest Dyster greatly. Such a competition here would be sign of the booming facial hair diversity in the city and the growing interest in full and partial beards, from the classic goatee to the Zach Galafianakis to the elegant Van Dyke and a dichotomy of mustaches.

And, unlike the Buffalo event in which not a dime of taxpayer funding is involved, Dyster could take the opportunity to throw casino cash, bed tax money and any other loose change he could find at the competition.

The only foreseeable problem is that, while the privately run concert series in Lockport and North Tonawada, as well as the beard competition put on by the good folks down at the Essex Street Pub have all been successful, Dyster’s various attempts to entertain have all been money losers.

Looking at the records of the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, for instance, one sees that the amount of money the organization makes on its’ Art of Beer celebration is almost exactly the same as what the city gives it annually. In other words, Dyster could just cut a check for the $30,000, not stage the event, and the result wouldn’t be any different.

The Hard Rock Café – a billion dollar multinational corporation owned by the Seminole Indian tribe — benefited by more than $700,000 in public money used to stage concerts that primarily benefited the night club’s beer and concessions business.

And the promoter of the Holiday Market – a $450,000 taxpayer funded boondoggle engineered by Dyster – lost every penny he was given.

It all most makes you wonder whether people pay more attention to their businesses when they’re playing with their own money.

The good folks at the Essex Street Pub will likely make a pretty penny with their St. Patrick’s Day beard competition. And without spending any taxpayer money at all.

The things they think of up in Buffalo!






Essex St. Pub, 530 Rhode Island St.  (883-2150/essexstreetpub.com)
On St. Patrick’s Day the Essex St. Pub will be hosting another rip-roaring beer soaked night of bearded men and bearded ladies competing for creative facial hair honors. The competition has gotten fierce over the past few years, particularly with the explosion of fancy beards worn by many favorite area bartenders. The Buffalo Beard Competition began in 2010 when Essex St. Pub owner Macky formalized his own traditional beard-growing season from September 17th to March 17th. In case you didn’t know, the start coincides with September 17, 1382 when Louis the Great’s mustached daughter Mary was crowned “King Mary” of Hungary.
Expect ferocious fun, particularly with the recent addition of the freestyle beard and the Dali mustache categories. Altogether there are nine categories: 3 for mustache; 3 for full beard; 3 for partial beard. Girls from Ultra Hoops/Melscamp show up in ‘whiskerina’ outfits. Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day there will also be Irish dancers and pipes and drums.


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