Contestants being photographed Sunday for the 2012 Beard & Stache Fest expounded on the joys of facial hair.

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At a picture-taking party Sunday for the 2012 Beard & Stache Fest, there was facial hair galore: from handlebar staches to long, ZZ Top-ish growths to beards so full and white Santa would be envious.

And just as plentiful were the joys of stache- and beard-dom — at least as cited by the contestants.

“It’s a chick magnet,” said Marc Tachell, of Everett — he of the ZZ Top-ish beard.

“People walk up and ask: ‘Are you a Three Musketeer?'” Eric Musehl said of his handlebar mustache and goatee. “And I answer: ‘Yes, yes I am.'”

“It gives joy to the kids,” said Ed Angelbeck, a teacher’s assistant with the Bremerton School District. His full, white beard and ruddy cheeks make him a natural to play Santa, which he does, at various school events.

The three were among a steady flow of men who came to the High Dive in Fremont on Sunday afternoon to be photographed for the 2012 Beard & Stache Fest.

The contest, in its fourth year, is put on by The World Is Fun, a Seattle-based nonprofit that works to involve people in their 20s and 30s in the community.

Participants are put in teams of five. Each contestant’s photo is displayed on an individual donation can. Local businesses — such as King’s Hardware in Ballard and Linda’s Tavern on Capitol Hill — sponsor a team, which means displaying each team member’s donation can.

The three individuals who get the most donations, along with the team that collects the most money overall, win prizes.

The money collected aids Treehouse, a nonprofit that works to give foster kids a normal childhood.

The Beard & Stache Fest has raised $11,000 for Treehouse over the past three years, said Amy Faulkner, The World Is Fun executive director, who expects to get 125 contestants this year.

Among them was Tachell, 59, a Boeing tool-design engineer who runs the website, where he’s posted a photo of himself in his full-bearded glory.

People recognize him on the street from that photo and his beard, he says, with some — particularly women — coming up and grabbing hold of his beard.

He estimates his current facial locks have reached more than 16 inches and taken three years to grow. Grooming the beard — shampoo, conditioner, blow-dry — is a daily undertaking.

Musehl, 35, a student at Shoreline Community College, says his Three Musketeers-like facial hair was the result of an epiphany: “You wake up one day and realize: You can grow some really weird facial hair — and no one’s stopping you,” he said.

This is Musehl’s third year entering the contest. He’s never won, but he’s met some good follicle friends through the fest.

“It’s a joyous community,” he says. Plus: “It’s opened my world up to other events and contests involving facial hair.”

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or

On Twitter @janettu.