Hat shop hosts Bicep Brawl in the Back Bay

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Inspired by the 1987 film “Over the Top,” starting strong man Sylvester Stallone, hat shop keeper Harley French decided that the Back Bay could really use an arm wrestling competition.

“I was having a Stallone marathon. It’s ‘Over the Top,’ but it was one of the movies that had to be on the list,” said French, who sells dapper hats at Goorin Bros. Hat Shop on Newbury Street. “After that went down, I was jokingly to another employee. I said we need to have an arm wrestling event. That would be so awesome.”

So tonight, the hat shop will host The Bicep Brawl, a free event, at 6 p.m., with 40 participants whose arms fall into the categories of “noodle,” “brick,” or “cannon.”

To help the sweaty brawl fit in with the hat shop’s dashing décor, guests are encouraged to wear vintage outfits, and enjoy performances by cabaret-style burlesque dancers.

“Trying to fit the ‘Stallone feel’ into the shop was a challenge, so we decided to do a 1920s and 30s type back room Irish blue collar theme. Sort of a test of strength and will.”

Winners were treated to hats from the shop’s Animal Farm Collection.


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