TUPELO – What began as a fun excuse for three friends to grow mustaches has turned into a philanthropic tradition for many in Tupelo.
The event began in 2012 when Russell Stafford, Jason Hayden and Todd Sherman created a light-hearted event centered around growing mustaches in March. “We realized it would be a wonderful way to raise funds for the GumTree Museum and the Autism Center of Tupelo,” said Kit Stafford, one of the event organizers and former executive director of the GumTree Museum of Art.
Proceeds from Saturday’s night of fun, food and facial follicles will be split evenly between the two Tupelo nonprofits.
“For our nonprofits in Tupelo, fundraising is a constant battle, so this is something we do to help,” Stafford said. “It’s a great way for friends to have a fun evening and support some worthy causes while they do it.”
Last year, each organization took home about $2,000 from the event.
Brittany Cuevas, director of business administration and development at the Autism Center of North Mississippi, said they hope to use proceeds from this year’s bash to help support a new program in which they send therapists to children whose parents are unable to bring them to the center.
The program reaches as far as Columbus and Starkville.
“We serve a lot of low-income families and the parents can’t always get here,” Cuevas said. “We’re going to start sending therapists to do therapy in the homes.”
This bash, like in previous years, will feature food, music and mustache-themed games, but Stafford said there will be interesting twists on past events.
The event is $20 and will begin Saturday at 7 p.m. at the GumTree Museum of Art.
The dress code is anything goes, and Stafford said mustaches are heavily encouraged.
“We have very prestigious mustache awards that are much sought-after,” she said. “Many past winners will be there to defend previous awards. People better bring their A-game. And we even have awards for the ladies.”
Stafford said they expect beautiful weather and plan to open the alley for outdoor seating.