Michel Fortin of Highgate won Best Backwoods Beard and overall Best Beard in Vermont in the 2020 Vermont Beardies to benefit Make-A-Wish Vermont. Julie Richards Photography.
For the fifth year, Make-A-Wish Vermont is asking bearded Vermonters to turn their whiskers into wishes, by joining in a light-hearted beard competition: The Wheels for Wishes Fifth Annual Vermont Beardies.
Participants register at www.vermontbeardies.com, then raise money by sharing their fundraising page far and wide, using social media, email, and more. Last year the contest raised $60,000—enough to grant wishes to six Vermont children.
Participants, or “Beardos” as the fundraiser lovingly calls them, range from closely shorn hipsters to fifth-generation Vermonters with beards down to their belts.
While these Beardo’s backgrounds—and beards—may vary, their dedication to granting wishes does not. “I just want to grant wishes to kids,” said Michel Fortin, aka Pappie, and last year’s winner of Best Beard in Vermont. As grandfather, to wish kid Ace, he knows first-hand how much a wish can mean to a child, their family, and surrounding community.
Says Make-A-Wish President and CEO James Hathaway, “It’s just so silly, and so lighthearted—that’s why we started it. But it’s also rooted in serious, meaningful work—granting wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses—and that’s what keeps people coming back year after year.”
New incentive swag and staycation grand prize
New this year, Beardos can win fun prizes at every level!
• $100 raised: a limited edition Beardies hat
• $250 raised: an axe-throwing session for two at Burly Axe
• $500 raised: a set of etched pint glasses
As in years past, the top 25 fundraisers will get to compete in the final competition—the exact details of which are to be determined, based on the state health protocols in mid-April. One of those bearded finalists will be voted “Best Beard in Vermont” and win a luxury staycation at Courtyard by Marriott, on the Burlington Waterfront.
The headline sponsor for the 5th Annual Vermont Beardies is Wheels for Wishes, a car donation foundation whose proceeds directly benefit local Make-A-Wish chapters. Other sponsors include Mascoma Bank, Shearer Volkswagen, Burlington’s Courtyard by Marriott, Burly Axe, Fiddlehead Brewing, Green Mountain Video, WCAX, Star 92.9, 101.3 The Game, Newstalk WVMT, The Zone, 95 Triple X, 92.1 WVTK, and 96.7 MeTV FM.
To learn more about the Beardies or to get started with a beard of your own, visit www.vermontbeardies.com.
Make-A-Wish Vermont creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. A wish is often the turning point in a child’s recovery. Since 1989, Make-A-Wish Vermont has granted over 860 wishes