Zak Martin, dressed as Forrest Gump, was declared the winner of the 2018 North Texas Giving Day Beard Pageant, in which bearded Denton residents competed for the title of mightiest beard in the land.

North Texas Giving Day is approaching, and Denton will get in on the online fundraiser with a real-life component, “Celebration on the Square,” from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 19 on the lawn of the Courthouse on the Square.

The centerpiece of the event is “Beard for a Cause.” Men, women and pets can enter the contest with a beard they’ve grown, sculpted, tied or painted on. A panel of celebrity judges will name the winner. The victor gets a gift basket and a Beard for a Cause trophy.

The event starts at 5 p.m. with a kickoff and music by Denton’s Raised Right Men. The pageant of beards will be from 6:30 to 7 p.m. After that, Raised Right Men closes the celebration down with a final set.

Throughout, local nonprofits — the chief beneficiaries of North Texas Giving Day— will have booths and activities to meet potential donors and to raise awareness of their mission and vision.

In 2017, North Texas Giving Day raised $39 million through more than 137,000 gifts benefiting 2,723 local nonprofit. Since 2008, the fundraiser has raised $195 million for the community. North Texas Giving Day is billed as the largest communitywide giving event in the nation.

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