Beth Gilchrist, of the Craig Centennial committee, shows off how she can grow a beard by pulling her hair forward during a pause at Saturday's beard-growing contest signup at the Centennial Mall. The contest kicks off the Centennial celebration, and contestants are not supposed to shave for 100 days. Beards will be judged April 21, the same day Craig was incorporated 100 years ago.

Photo by Jerry Raehal

Beth Gilchrist, of the Craig Centennial committee, shows off how she can grow a beard by pulling her hair forward during a pause at Saturday's beard-growing contest signup at the Centennial Mall. The contest kicks off the Centennial celebration, and contestants are not supposed to shave for 100 days. Beards will be judged April 21, the same day Craig was incorporated 100 years ago.

An end and a beginning

Beard contest judging kicks off 100-day

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Tonight, 100 days of beard growth probably will end for 46 contestants participating in the Brothers of the Brush contest.

That's good news for Centennial Committee member Ray Beck.

In January, Beck threw his hat - or rather, his razor - into the ring by signing up for the beard growing contest in honor of Craig's centennial.

"I think I speak for myself and the majority of the rest of the guys that are doing this, we're kind of anxious to get this beard off," Beck said.

Still, the contest judging tonight is not only an end.

It's also the beginning of a 100-day celebration marking Craig's incorporation a century ago.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave. Refreshments and entertainment from local performers will be provided.

Three judges will rate residents' beards in different categories, including fullest beard and whitest whiskers. An award also awaits the person with the most futile beard, Beck said.

Commemorative merchandize and tickets to Centennial events later this year await winners in each category.

Presentation of a centennial display at the museum and a speech from Mayor Don Jones will accompany the beard judging, Centennial Committee member Beth Gilchrist said.

Other centennial events are scheduled for coming months.

"This is a great summer to stay home," Gilchrist said. "There's so much going on."

Annual events, including Grand Olde West Days, May 23 through 26, and the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, a wood-carving contest scheduled June 11 through 14, will take Craig's Centennial as their theme, Beck said.

A community barbecue follows the annual Yampa Valley Electric Association meeting on June 21 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

"Everybody is invited," Beck said, adding that Centennial Committee members and YVEA officials "thought this would be beneficial for the whole community."

The celebration continues July 4 with the opening of a 100-year-old time capsule at City Hall, Beck said.

Fireworks will follow later in the evening.

Although some yearly festivals will come with a Centennial twist this year, new events will also move along Craig's 100th anniversary.

A performance by Three Dog Night on July 12 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, followed by an AirFest July 19 at the Craig/Moffat County Airport will help round out the celebration.

"I think this will be a very prestigious event," Beck said.

Elected officials, including Gov. Bill Ritter and Sen. Jack Taylor have been invited to attend the AirFest, Beck said, adding that a military fly-over by the Air National Guard is scheduled at noon.

Residents also can celebrate Craig's centennial on the green during a golf tournament July 20 at the Yampa Valley Golf Course. A wine-tasting and dessert soiree hosted by the Craig Lions Club on July 24 at the Center of Craig helps wrap up the Centennial celebration. There, residents can buy limited edition Centennial Craig wine, according to the Craig Chamber of Commerce Web site.

Burying a new time capsule July 29 at Craig City Hall marks the end of the 100-day celebration.

Centennial events are funded through memorabilia sales and donations, Beck said, adding that cups, hats, shirts and coins are still on sale.

Centennial mugs sell for $7 each, while hats and coins are priced at $13 and $8, respectively. Centennial shirts sell for $17 each. All memorabilia is available at Craig City Hall, the Museum of Northwest Colorado, and Craig Chamber of Commerce.

"Once they're gone, they're gone," Beck said.

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