Even with the lights off, Looney's Pub in Bel Air remained a packed house Saturday, filled with local residents eager to show support for the fight against childhood cancer.
More than 50 people volunteered to have their heads shaved on the Looney's stage to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research. The head shaving, which is performed by licensed barbers and cosmetologists, is designed to show solidarity with those who have lost their hair from cancer treatments.
Event organizer Dylan Baumgardner said about $24,000 had been raised before Saturday's event kicked off, and he expected to exceed organizers' goal of raising $30,000 altogether.
Baumgardner wrote in an e-mail after the event "a rough number" on the total amount raised would be available in the coming days.
"We hope to make next year even greater and are already in the works of planning," he wrote.
Looney's was plunged into sudden darkness in the midst of the head-shaving event Saturday, about one hour and 45 minutes after it started, as a result of a power outage in the Bel Air area.
Baumgardner wrote that "with quick thinking and some ingenuity by our volunteers and DJ we kept the head shaving going."
Power was restored to Looney's after about 90 minutes, and the time for people to contribute funds was extended by two hours.
BGE spokeswoman Rachael Lighty said a piece of the provider's "electric distribution equipment" in the vicinity of the town had failed Saturday afternoon, and "approximately" 3,000 customers had been affected.
The event attendees, many of whom wore kelly green St. Baldrick's T-shirts, continued milling about, while waiting for the power to come back, talking, drinking and eating – Looney's had pledged 20 percent of its proceeds from food and drink sales Saturday to St. Baldrick's.
"Everyone stuck around for the power to come back on and held strong in their attendance to raise money FOR THE LITTLE GUYS," Baumgardner wrote.
A group of people stood outside Looney's in the cooler afternoon air. Ashley Stansfield and her father, John, of Bel Air, were among them.
"We all come out and have a good time," she said while at the edge of a Looney's parking lot packed with cars.
She and her father were part of the Drew's Bel Air Crew team, formed to raise money in honor of the late Andrew "Drew" Eilbacher, a member of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company who died in 2011 at age 24 from complications of a brain tumor.
Eilbacher's fellow Bel Air volunteers – including Baumgardner, who is a firefighter/EMT – organized the head-shaving event for St. Baldrick's in his honor, which was held in College Park last year, and the same group put on this year's event in Bel Air.
A number of teams were formed in honor of people who have died from cancer, who are fighting the disease or are in remission from it.
"The fire department is a brotherhood, and as so as Drew joined he became our brother," John Stansfield said. "This is support for him and support for his family."
Stansfield is a senior firefighter with Bel Air and his daughter is training to be an EMT.
Other honorees Saturday included Caleb Baker, Dominic "The Dominator" Osorio and Adam Sparr.
Adam, whose family lives in Joppa, is an 8-year-old child who has battled leukemia since he was 2 1/2 years old.