Firefighters gathered for the sixth annual Mustache Bash, which was held Nov. 11 at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in Cordova.
Memphis Fire Department and Bartlett Fire Department firefighters grow mustaches for the event, which raises money for charity. This year, it was the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. The silent auction raised money specifically for John Foote, a Memphis firefighter whose leukemia now is in remission.
Awards included Best Firefighter Mustache, Creepiest and Best Overall.
Stephen Zachar, a firefighter/paramedic with the Memphis Fire Department, and Jensen Pilant, a firefighter with the Bartlett Fire Department, celebrated their sixth anniversary as event co-chairs.
Asked what was special to them about the event, Zachar said, “It brings the tradition of the firefighter’s mustache. But it also brings the tradition of firefighters helping each other.”
Long before they wore air tanks on their backs, firefighters relied on their facial hair. “Men would grow very long beards and mustaches and dip them in water and roll them up to filter out the smoke as they fought fires.”
Jensen said, “We can choose where the money is going and what charity we want to do. And we get together and have a big party and grow ridiculous mustaches that the wives hate to see.”
Jensen began growing his mustache in October. Asked when he was going to shave, he said, “Well, I got up this morning and my wife had the razor already laid out for me. But i still have it. I’m kind of getting attached to it. Every time I went to the mirror, I was like, ‘Man. It kind of looks good.’ I still have it. I don’t know how long I’m going to have it.”
Zachar said he’s not shaving his off until the end of November. Memphis Fire Department director Gina Sweat “has dropped all mustache regulations per our uniform protocol and we’re having a fundraiser within the department,” he said. “They’re raising money for WINGS of Memphis.
“Normally we’re not allowed to have mustaches. They can come down to the crest of our lip and can’t be big. But she’s dropped that for the month of November. We can grow any kind of mustache. People donate money to the individual firefighters who grow their mustache and then the Memphis Fire Department will give it to the WINGS of Memphis.”
Clint Wooten, a Bartlett Fire Department firefighter who attended with his wife, Meradith, was clean shaven at the event. He had a mustache that he grew for Mustache Bash, but, he said, “I just shaved it yesterday.’
He shaved it for his family pictures, but he got his dates wrong. “We thought they were today. They’re tomorrow.”
And his wife actually liked his mustache.
Note: On Dec. 16, Memphis and Bartlett firefighters will be doing a Leukemia Lymphoma fundraiser for the Buffalo Wild Wings at Wolfchase. “If you go eat there at lunch and dinner, a portion of your tab will go to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society,” Zachar said.
And Memphis and Bartlett firefighters will take part in Scott Firefighter Stairclimb March 11 in Seattle. They’ll compete against 2,000 firefighters from around the world as they race wearing all their gear up 69 flights to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
Babbie Lovett was honored with a fashion show and reception, which was held Nov. 11 at Church Health, the event’s beneficiary.
Lovett, who owned two boutiques - Collectibles and Mine - said she was a “daughter, wife, mother, model, store keeper. And as my daddy used to say - crazy. And now I’m a great-grandmother.”
The fashion show - with models wearing their hair in Lovett’s signature ponytail style - featured many outfits from Lovett’s personal collection.
As she has done at countless fashion events, Lovett emceed the show. She urged her audience members not to be so serious about what they’re wearing. “Have fun with it,” she said. “I dare you to wear a feather boa to Kroger.”
Mayor Jim Strickland declared Nov. 12 “Babbie Lovett Day.”
“Babbie” red and white wine with a photo of Lovett and her ponytail on the label were served at the reception.
Sheila Wilson came up with the idea to do the event. “Originally, Babbie said, ‘Let’s do a fashion show for Church Health.’”
Wilson talked it over with a committee and said, “Let’s do this in honor of Babbie. We just need to honor Babbie. It’s time.”
In addition to Lovett’s outfits, the fashion show feature five from Kitty Kyle Collection and two from Joseph.
Outfits from the 1980s resembled the newer outfits. Fashion, she said, is “always moving. But almost always the same. A classic look is a classic look. It never changes.”
What did Lovett think of her tribute? “They were mighty generous to me in every respect,” she said. “I was totally and completely blown away.”
And Church Health in the Crosstown Concourse is “just an increcible place to have an event. And everyone could not have been more gracious to me.”
So, when did Lovett start wearing her hair in a ponytail? “Probably 35 years ago. When I was modeling I had every hairdo that could be had. And I got tired of having to fool with it. So, I just decided to let it go. My husband was ill and things sort of changed in my life. And it just became an easier thing to do.”
“Howl at the Moon,” the annual fundraiser for Streetdog Foundation, held Nov. 11 at the Warehouse in the South Main district, was a success, said Melanie Daniel Pafford, who, along with her husband, Kent, founded Streetdog.
Between 1,100 and 1,200 attended the event, which was a record. “It’s important that the fundraiser be successful and well attended and people bid,” Melanie said. “And it was. We started out with 500 people in 2013 and every year we go up about 100 people. Last year, we were right under 800.
“The funds raised from this provides 70 to 80 percent of our money that is used to pay for the rest of the year for all these dogs that we rescue. Even though we get donations throughout the year and some people donate through things they see on our Website our our Facebook, this is our one big fund raiser.”
Asked what makes the event successful, Melanie said, “The venue itself is so much fun. It’s a ‘come as your fun self.’ Grassroots. People just come and just enjoy each other. It’s casual. It’s fun and they know they’re doing it for the dogs. ‘Cause we’re 100 percent volunteer and 100 percent of what we make at the event goes to the dogs.”
Kris Kourdouvelis and Sharon Gray hosted the event, which featured live and silent auctions and music from Shufflegrit, South Side Supper Club, Grape, Bobbie and Tasha and DJ Tree.
Has it really been 15 years since Bari Ristorante e Enoteca opened in Overton Square?
Owners Jason and Rebecca Severs held a reception Nov. 12 at the restaurant.
“Just to celebrate our 15 years in business with regulars and employees,” Jason said. “And giving our employees a chance to hang out with the regulars in a non-work atmosphere.”
Asked what sets Bari apart, Jason said, “It’s unique. No one else in town is doing what we’re doing. No one in town has done anything we did. Southern Italian cuisine. Very fresh and light ingredients. Letting the ingredients speak for themselves and not overdoing the food.
“No one still does an all Italian wine list and cheese program like we do. Southeastern. This isn’t about, ‘Let’s do an Italian restaurant, but it’s Italian and barbecue.’ It’s regional Italian.”