Oliver Hazard Perry Sideburns Contest

September 10th will mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, an American naval victory during the War of 1812. The American commander at that battle was the gallant and well-groomed Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

To mark the anniversary of the battle, some American men on the lake are holding a sideburn-growing contest. Go Erie talked to one participant:

For Steve Frezza, a volunteer with the Maritime Museum and the U.S. Brig Niagara, participation in the contest was a no-brainer.

"I've been wearing sideburns for 10 years," said Frezza, 50, adding that he's a longtime War of 1812 and Civil War re-enactor.

When the Niagara was used in a PBS War of 1812 documentary, Frezza appeared on board as a notable character. "They nabbed me to play Oliver Hazard Perry," he said.

As touchstones of sideburns excellence change over time, Frezza said, people's responses to his facial hair often key him in to what generation they hail from. "People see them and say 'Elvis!' or 'Wolverine!'" he said, referencing Hugh Jackman's mutton-chopped character in the "X-Men" films.

News Story and Photo Gallery -via Stuff

(Images: John Wesley Jarvis/Perry 200)

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