By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald
Bill Holmes’ mustache has raised nearly $1,000 over the last four years.
The Port Huron resident hopes to surpass that mark when he puts his facial hair up for auction once more in the Blue Water Social Club’s fifth annual ‘Stache Bash on March 28 at McMorran Place.
The top 10 mustaches will be auctioned off, with the highest bidder choosing to either save or shave the facial hair.
In the first four ‘Stache Bashes, Holmes’s whiskers have made it into the top 10. Each time, his mustache was saved.
Last year, Holmes raised about $150.
“You really don’t know what each bidder intends to do while they auction off your mustache,” Holmes said. “There are a lot of people who haven’t seen me without it. If I were to lose it, I hope it would go for a reasonable amount.”
With more than 300 people attending last year’s ‘Stache Bash, the event was moved to McMorran Place to accommodate the steady rise in attendance.
Organizers also will be adding a performing artist from Detroit as well as — ironically — a barbershop quartet.
“We have had some great support from the Port Huron Police Department,” said Ryan McInnis, co-creator of ‘Stache Bash. “They helped us with the cost of renting the space and the downtown businesses have been more than supportive.”
The event is organized by the Blue Water Social Club, which organizes events ranging from the Zombie Crawl to the Paddle and Pour.
‘Stache Bash was created four years ago, when McInnis began talking to a few of his fellow mustache aficionados.
“I always wanted it to be big,” McInnis said. “In the beginning I thought it would be great to bring in Tom Selleck as the guest of honor. Moving it to McMorran is a big step for us because now we have room to expand.”
Prior to taking the stage, participants who volunteer their facial hair will chat with other attendees so bidders can get a feel for the mustache they want.
Event coordinator Missy Campau said there is no cost for registration; however, tickets are $5.
“We’re buffing it up this year because it is at McMorran and it is our five-year anniversary,” Campau said. “It’s a lot of fun for five bucks.”
Tickets are available for purchase at Kate’s Downtown, Port Huron Family Chiropractic, Fuel Woodfire Grill and Polka Dot Pandas in downtown Port Huron.
Campau said McMorran will provide concessions and beverages for the event. An after-party for attendees and contestants will be at Lynch’s Irish Tavern and Roche Bar.
As co-host of the event, Campau is normally front and center when an auctioned mustache is shaved.
“I sit there with a silver tray as they are shaved. It’s hilarious,” she said. “After that we have a proper barber coming to clean up the job after their ‘stache gets hacked. However, if the bidder decides to only shave half of it off, that person has to keep it the way it is for the rest of the night.”
The event isn’t all fun and games.
Campau said people tend to forget ‘Stache Bash is a charity event with an important cause.
Proceeds go toward the Thin Blue Line of Michigan, a nonprofit charity that provides support and assistance to families of first responders and law enforcement officers who are injured or killed in the line of duty.
“We want to be able to write them a good check and let them know there are people who care,” Campau said. “We’ve always raised a couple grand each year, but as long as we can hit that number after switching to a larger venue I’ll be happy.
“I just want to make sure the focus is on the cause and not just the event, no matter how fun it is.”
The last time Holmes was completely shaven was about 15 years ago. That streak will be in jeopardy come March 28.
While only a handful of people would be able to recognize him without his face fuzz, Holmes said he would be a good sport because of the cause.
“I think it’s an excellent way for any member of the community to give back to those who protect our well-being when we need it most,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way to give back to them.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 18, 2015)