HOW many toy soldiers can you stuff into your beard in a minute?

Can you scoff a flaky pastry without getting crumbs in your curls?

And just how much do you know about your partner's whiskers?

Oxford Beard Festival is back, and it's bigger, bushier and more bizarre than ever.

Mother and daughter moustache lovers Sue Higgins and Faith King are bringing their celebration of facial fuzz back to the James Street Tavern off Cowley Road on Saturday, September 17.

And this year, in lieu of the traditional "best beard" and "mightiest moustache" contests, they have decided to make things a little more interesting.

Childminder Ms Higgins, 48, who lives with her bearded boyfriend Graham Barlow in Oxford, said: "This year we've decided to have different categories like 'how many things can you keep in your beard?', so I've bought little toy soldiers, lollipop sticks, pompom balls, toy cars and Rawlplugs.

"You'll get a minute to see how many of those you can get into your beard."

Beardies will also be dared to enter the Messless pastry-eating challenge.

Ms Higgins explained: "You've got a minute to eat things like pastries, cream cakes and anything that's going to make a mess in your beard. That will be hilarious."

Female facial hair fans won't forego the fun: women can enter a contest to craft the finest false beard out of whatever materials they like.

Even children will be able to enter a beard and moustache designing competition, either by drawing their fanciest French fork or creating and wearing a simulated soul patch.

Miss King, who has recently completed a furniture design and making course at City of Oxford College, is handcrafting oak trophies for this year's winners.

A bearded fancy dress competition will guarantee some sartorial diversion, live music will be provided by (who else?) Beard of Destiny, and the night will climax will a beard-lovers' burlesque show courtesy of The Scarlet Vixens.

Ms Higgins said she has a lifelong love of beards (her father has one, her children's father has one and her current boyfriend has one) but she and Faith were inspired to launch an Oxford festival after getting hooked on US TV show Whisker Wars.

She said: "They get together and have these huge championships. We started watching it and we got hooked."

In 2014 they held the first Oxford Beard Festival at the Wheatsheaf pub in High Street, and more than 60 men turned up throughout the day, bristling for the challenge.

Last year they moved their event to the James Street Tavern and dozens more moustachioed men turned up, and helped raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.

As well as the new cheeky challenges, this year's festival will also have some more traditional titles up for grabs including the "big and bushy" award, "straightest moustache", "curliest moustache" and "best sideburns".

The event runs from midday onwards. For more details go to