Photo Gallery An Ugly Business

Times are rough in Spain right now, and there might be little to smile about. But the annual battle of the ugly faces in the Basque city of Bilbao proves that the country has lost none of its famous joie de vivre and sense of humor.
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Look mom, no hands! Since 1978, the northern Spanish city of Bilbao has celebrated the "Aste Nagusia" ("Big Week" in Basque), a nine-day festival complete with fireworks, concerts and bullfights as well as food stands and dancing in the streets.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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Dawn of the ugly: One of the highlights of the annual event -- and surely the funniest -- is the "Concurso de Feos", or "the ugly competition."

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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In the eye of the beholder: Men and women, old and young, take the stage to contort their faces into the ugliest grimace possible -- and the grosser, the better.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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Stooge-tastic! The festival is organized by both the city of Bilbao and independent groups of friends.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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A young participant tries her luck.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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This girl is all teeth.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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The distended mouth is a classic.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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This pose is complicated, but effective.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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One of the more popular faces involves rolling one's eyes until only the whites are visible.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters
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This grimace looks particularly painful.

Foto: VINCENT WEST/ Reuters