PALMER -- The competition was, uh, fur-ious at the Alaska State Fair's Great Alaska Beard Contest on Sunday afternoon. A panel of three judges took the measure of facial follicle production in four categories, the audience indicated their favorites by applause and cheers, and members of the crowd at the Heineken Stage at the Woodlot had the opportunity to fondle the fuzz for themselves -- just to make sure it was real.
The winner of each category won $50 and a goodie bag with gift certificates and other items, like a first aid kit for the next time they shave. The overall winner won an additional $100 plus the coveted title of Mr. Sourdough.
The results are as follows:
• Urban category (trimmed, shaped or sculpted): John Van Nostrand;
• Colonist category (at least 50 percent gray): Drew Feild;
• Soupstrainer category (moustache): Don Graber;
• and Homesteader (full and untrimmed): Doug Renfro.
Renfro was also named the top overall beardist and Mr. Sourdough 2011. He said he grew his chest-length beard in one year and 4 days.
• A plate of peaches in the produce exhibits section has an information card stating that these are "the first peaches ever exhibited at the Alaska State Fair!" They're the work of Bob Boyer, who also has apricots, quinces and several apples on display, including a softball-size Sumner Rambo apple.
• The Mat-Su Copper River District 4-H Club is holding a fundraiser raffle. First prize is a hog. A whole one, grown in Alaska, of course. Second prize is a whole turkey. The winner has the option of taking the animal live or having it butchered and wrapped for the freezer. Tickets are $1 each.