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      Escanaba celebrates birthday with beards and kayaks

      Rick Servant (right)
      Escanaba's 150th celebration continued Sunday with a hairy event.

      Several men competed against each other for the best beard in town. Winners received cash prizes in different categories like longest, bushiest, and greyest beard. Some prizes included a free haircut. Rick Servant of Escanaba was grand champion. He began growing his beard on April 10. He says his father grew a beard and wore period attire for Escanaba's centennial in 1963, and he wanted to do the same.

      "I'd do it again. It was enjoyable. I won't be around for the next one, but I'd do it again," said Servant.

      Shortly after the beard competition, a handful of people took to the water for the Canoe Kayak Regatta. The course was over three miles long. They started at the Aaronson Island Bridge, traveled around Yacht Harbor, toward Portage Point, and ended back at the bridge. Racers say it was fun, but not easy.

      "It's a lot harder than it looks. Basically it's running a marathon with your arms. My arms right now are just Jell-O; holding this (microphone) is a hassle," said Patti Gallagher of Escanaba. She was the first one across the finish line.

      Escanaba received some rain, but conditions were perfect for the regatta.