LET'S FACE IT:  The Daily Examiner  October 24, 1969 Mutton Chop festival - detective sergeants Alan Dahl and Ron Walsh.
LET'S FACE IT: The Daily Examiner October 24, 1969 Mutton Chop festival - detective sergeants Alan Dahl and Ron Walsh. Tim Jarrett

Would a mutton chop festival whet the Valley's appetite?

I USED to think that the growth of facial hair was split firmly down generational lines, but Jacaranda Festival 1969 has proved me wrong.

Now I am going to go back to my youth here, but bear with me.

Back in good old days of 2004, when we had the soothing voice of John Howard to guide us and Bert Newton's toupee was still in service, I started to grow facial hair.

And boy did I love it.

If hair appeared, I left it and pretty soon I had a pair of the most god-awful "mutton chops” ever seen.

But while they may not have looked any good, they helped shape the militant beard wearer I became, a confident beardist who now doesn't let anyone tell me where to shave, no matter how much I may still want to live with them.

So what does this have to do with Jaca '69? Well back in the good old days the festival had a competition that captured the imagination of the Clarence - they had a mutton chops competition.

'Mr Mutton Chops' as it was never affectionately known, was so popular even the local mayor got on board.

And leading from the front, the festival president Alderman Ray Fanning featured a wonderful set of chops that he attributed to the packet of Thrive (fertiliser) sent to him by a complete stranger.

Now that is the type of brown paper bag all councillors should be given.

The event proved so popular even the police got in on the act, with detective sergeants Alan Dahl and Ron Walsh taking up the challenge and featuring in the October 24 edition of The Daily Examiner.

Oh how much I would love to have seen those two putting the cuffs on an equally side-burned crim.

Make no mistake, this event became so big they had to create heats in order to cope with the sheer number of men coming forward.

What is so great about competitions such as these - similar to events like Movember - is people who would otherwise not grow hair do - and it changes lives.

Just take the Hugh Jackman example, before his turn as Wolverine in X-Men it was pretty clear his days as an actor were numbered and it wouldn't have been long before he was selling stolen meat in the carpark of Woolies.

So what changed? Well obviously it was mutton chops.

His chops single-handedly made a superhero snooze-fest into a box office smash hit, cementing his position as a great of the cinematic world in the process.

Nothing says international festival like a mutton chop competition and organisers would be well placed to take a look back into the archives and resurrect what was probably the greatest Jacaranda event of all time.

If the Jacaranda Festival wants to burst from the shackles of being just another festival and join the pantheon of great festivals like Vivid, the Running of the Bulls or the Venice Biennale they would do well to bring it back.