You call that a beard?

MY partner has grown a beard. It started, as many a beard has started, by not shaving.

This is no attempt at hipster grooming; no decision to be part of a trend. His beard is garden-variety facial growth that shot up from under a blunt razor one morning.

But, on trend he is. Beards are this season's must-have hipster accessory.

I wonder, however, how many well-coiffed hipster beards could meet the challenge of the annual Beardies Festival, due to kick off this month in Glen Innes.

The festival is named after the original "Beardies" - two convicts whose rough, bush-living habits saw their beards grow long and furiously.

In honour of the Beardies, the festival's beard competition awards prizes for Scraggiest, Most Feral and Longest beards - "Rumpelstiltskin step on down!" the entry form encourages.

I don't think the average hipster beard would make the grade at the Beardies, but the festival has made some concessions by adding Best Groomed, Most Aromatic and Most Colourful and Decorated to the mix.

Perhaps I will enter my partner and his garden-variety, non-hipster beard into the Most Aromatic section?

A sprinkle of patchouli oil, perhaps a flower or two woven in, and we may have a winner.

Megan Kinninment blogs the offbeat (and how to grow a beard) at