March 19, 2018

Avon Celebrates St. Baldrick’s Day with a
Cool New Venue and Plenty of Cheers
...WITH SLIDE SHOW


By JOY CRIST


What’s more fun than shaving your head for a great cause?

Doing it with strobe lights… And maybe a St. Patrick’s Day brew or two.

Avon’s annual St. Baldrick’s Day event had a cool new venue for 2018, with plenty of bald heads and beers to go around.

On Saturday afternoon on St. Patrick’s Day, Turner’s High Moon Bar served as the setting for the beloved yearly event, complete with an on-site bake sale, T-shirts and other gear, and two barber chairs that were set up next to flashy and colorful lighting.

“Our [barbers] needed to see a little better, so we broke out the strobe lights,” said organizer Jenn Augustson.

Now in its 12th year in Avon, the event has become a favorite local tradition that raises awareness and money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation - a volunteer-driven charity that funds childhood cancer research grants.

The event’s local roots technically began about 15 years ago, when Tina Chandler and her daughter, Maddy, attended the Norfolk-based event while her daughter was undergoing chemo, and it simply grew from there. For several years, some Avon locals would make the drive up to Norfolk every March to participate, until they decided to simply stage their own event closer to home.

The first St. Baldrick’s in Avon was held at the Avon Surf Shop, with Chloe Sapecki as the event’s lone barber. It eventually moved to the Avon Fire Station as more and more attendees signed up to have their heads shaved clean.

This year, after roughly a decade at the Fire House, the event moved to a new home, Turner’s High Moon Bar.

“The first St. Baldrick’s Day was held at a bar, so it’s actually very appropriate,” said Augustson. “[Owners] Dottie and Sam generously offered Turner’s to us as a venue, and we thought it would be fun to change it up this year.”

There were a couple inherent and added bonuses to the new location, too.

For one thing, big screen TVs played the NCAA tournament games, so participants wouldn’t miss a minute of March Madness. For another, the bar setting meant that shavees could have a little liquid courage before they stepped up to the barber’s chair.

Tabitha Rose from Salon Jobell in Buxton and Denise Gaskins from Hair by the Sea were the barbers at this year’s event, and both ladies have been involved with the annual fundraiser for years.

“I heard about this event when I first moved here, and fell in love with it,” said Rose. “It’s really nice to see how many people come out every year.”

Indeed, there were quite a few repeat shavees at this year’s event, such as Warren “Tater” Gaskins and his son, Ellis, who at three-years-old celebrated both his second year as a participant, as well as his second consecutive year of winning the unofficial title of “Youngest Shaveee.”

Curtis Cromwell cut more than 10” of hair off, which was able to be donated to Locks of Love. His two sons also stepped up the barber’s chair, eager to join their clean-shaven dad. “My son sat down and said ‘I can’t wait to be bald!’” said Cromwell. “As for me, I did it years ago, and I skipped last year because I wanted to donate my hair, but it wasn’t long enough to donate. This year, it definitely was.”

Women were also represented at this year’s St. Baldrick’s Day, thanks to the brave participation of another repeat shavee, Danielle Collard.

“Once you get past that initial hump, you’re good to go – although it is a little colder than you anticipate at first,” said Collard. “It’s always a good event and it’s a really great cause – and we have to have some women represent.”

Repeat Shavees Mike Fahey and Ellis Gaskins tied for the most amount of funds raised, with each garnering $250 from the event. Roughly $1,000 was raised for the St. Baldrick's Foundation as of Saturday afternoon, and folks are free to donate after the event via https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/447/2018.

“This is my favorite charity – it’s the one I donate to every year,” said top fundraiser Mike Fahey, who has been participating for nearly a decade. “Sure, you might love your hair, but this sends a powerful message about what’s really important.”


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