Taste of Lombard attendees go bald for charity
More than a dozen people said goodbye to their hair -- and maybe a few degrees of heat -- Saturday afternoon as they got their heads shaved for charity at the Taste of Lombard.
For the fourth year, the taste hosted a St. Baldrick's Foundation shave-a-thon, attracting generous and soon-to-be-bald souls who fundraised for childhood cancer research before going under the razor.
"It feels very, very good being without all that," said Patrick Carpenter of Stickney, as he pointed at piles of his curly, red hair on the floor of the taste's family entertainment stage. "I purposely didn't cut my hair for a couple months before this."
Jessica Nichols, 11, of Downers Grove, also said she eagerly anticipated her head-shaving moment for months as she worked to raise $425 for the foundation.
She smiled and squirmed as three hairdressers from Paul Mitchell, The School in Chicago teamed up to hold her foot-long, dark blonde locks off her neck and shave them from the roots.
After her shave was complete, Jessica said it would take some time to get used to the feeling of baldness.
"It feels different, actually, than I thought it would," she said.
But the feeling of donating to a worthy cause like cancer research is something she liked right away, as she said three of her relatives have suffered from cancer.
"I think I'm going to keep doing it. I like it," she said about getting her head shaved for charity.
Before Jessica and Carpenter had their turns, a couple members of the Lombard Jaycees, which organizes the taste, also got their heads shaved and donated at least $100 to St. Baldrick's. The foundation expected to collect between $5,000 and $7,000 from Saturday's event.
Aside from St. Baldrick's fundraising, the taste itself usually results in about $30,000 worth of donations to community groups. Festival staffers from scouting organizations and church groups are paid for their time working the taste, said Jackie West, president of Lombard Jaycees.
While head shaving was going on in the family entertainment tent, carnival rides were spinning and giving riders a welcome breeze, B96 was playing pop tunes, and a small lunch crowd walked to food vendor booths atop parched grass matted down by visitors to the first four days of the taste.
The early July heat wave, along with storm damage and power outages in Lombard following a July 1 storm, brought Taste of Lombard attendance down slightly, West said. The festival was scheduled to conclude Saturday night with a 9 p.m. performance by Lucky Boys Confusion.