Community Growth

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    Nearly 140 men in Celestine have been growing their beards out since early January to celebrate the town’s 175th anniversary. The Brothers of the Brush gathered at Celestine Park on Wednesday for their final monthly meeting before the town’s Streetfest in late June. Their beards will be judged at the fest in five categories: longest, bushiest, ugliest, most unique and best looking. “This is what’s great about the town of Celestine,” said Chad Schnell of Celestine, president of the Streetfest. “Everybody is friends and family. Everybody will help and work. This is what community is all about.” Adam Brosmer of Celestine, center, watched and occasionally helped, as Bernie Gadlage, left, and Jack Hasenour, both of Celestine, played Sheepshead during the cookout. The town’s celebration is June 28-July 1. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    Alvin Lampert, left, and Richard Fromme, both of Celestine, chatted during the final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening. Fromme last wore a beard when he worked in the mines in the 1980s and said that his current beard is the longest it has ever been. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    The final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening featured barbecue and raffle prizes. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    Alvin Lampert of Celestine waited for raffle prizes to be announced during the final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening. Lampert won a lounge chair. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    Nick Schmitt of Celestine talked about his experience growing out a full beard for the first time during the final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    The youngest and oldest beard-growing men in attendance, Max Witte, 21, and Ray Lueken, 81, both of Celestine, chatted during the final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    Gary Hasenour of Celestine told his friends a funny story about his brother, Jack, during the final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening. "But he's my brother and I wouldn't give him up for the world," Gary said. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    Tony Meyer, left, Duane Thewes, both of Celestine, swapped stories during the final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald

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    Chad Schnell of Celestine scoped out seating in the new shelter house during the final meeting of Brothers of the Brush at Celestine Park on Wednesday evening. Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald