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Annual Havre de Grace St. Baldrick's head shaving is Saturday

Susquehanna Hose Company Chief Scott Hurst takes his turn in the chair to have his head shaved during last year's St. Baldrick's event at Bill Bateman's Bistro in Havre de Grace. This year's fundraiser for children's cancer research is Saturday, March 31.
Susquehanna Hose Company Chief Scott Hurst takes his turn in the chair to have his head shaved during last year's St. Baldrick's event at Bill Bateman's Bistro in Havre de Grace. This year's fundraiser for children's cancer research is Saturday, March 31. (Courtesy photo/Scott Hurst)

More than 80 people have signed up to either get their heads shaved or get lengths of hair cut to donate for wigs Saturday during the fifth annual Havre de Grace fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

It is the largest turnout since the Havre de Grace event started in 2014, according to co-organizer Scott Hurst.

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Hurst is chief of the Susquehanna Hose Company, the volunteer fire company serving Havre de Grace and the primary sponsor of the local head-shaving event.

This year’s St. Baldrick’s event is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. at Bill Bateman’s Bistro, 2021 Pulaski Highway.

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The event will start with a performance from the Havre de Grace High School jazz band. Richard Hauf, the school’s band director, will be among the first people to get his head shaved, followed by the bulk of the day’s shavings and hair cuttings at 12:30 p.m.

“We are basically booked with people shaving or cutting lengths from 12:30 to 6 p.m., so five [and a half] hours of hair cutting every 15 minutes, four people every 15 minutes,” lead organizer Billy Berg said Thursday.

About 20 children and about 10 women, “more than we’ve ever had,” have volunteered to get shaved or have inches of hair cut for wig donations. His 7-year-old daughter, Hayden, who donated her locks two years ago, will be among the group.

“She’s growing that 10 inches back, and she wants to do it again,” he said.

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Similar events, during which participants go on stage to get their heads shaved in exchange for donations to St. Baldrick’s, happen all over the country.

More than 35 people got their heads, as well as a few beards, shaved during a March 10 event at Looney’s Pub in Bel Air, raising more than $24,000.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation uses its donations to fund research into cures for childhood cancer, and research alone, according to its website.

“All the money that they [receive] goes specifically to childhood cancer, to the doctors to find cures and better treatment,” Berg said.

As of Thursday, about $355,000 has been raised during the past four years through the Havre de Grace event, according to Hurst.

Organizers have a goal of half a million dollars raised by 2019, Hurst said. He said “we’re just going to keep on going” even if they do not reach that goal.

Major supporters of Saturday’s event include the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Fire & Rescue Department, Bill Bateman’s, All About Parties, Shoreline Graphics and Color Images Salon — the stylists who will shave and cut are with Color Images.

In addition to the head shaving, there will be multiple activities for families, such as face painting, a moon bounce and a photo booth, food and drink at Bateman’s, a silent auction of sports memorabilia, apparel sales, as well as honors for local families and children who have survived cancer.

“The weather is going to be beautiful,” Hurst said. “It’s a very family-oriented day.”

He said the City of Havre de Grace has lit up downtown in green in support of St. Baldrick’s.

Hurst praised the BWI firefighters — Berg is a member of Susquehanna Hose and a BWI firefighter — for their support of the St. Baldrick’s event over the years.

“They are a great group, they have a lot of people that come down here . . . they’re such a big part of this event,” Hurst said.

Berg said he asked a couple of his fellow BWI firefighters for their support when the event started, “and it’s just taken off.”

He said close to a dozen of his colleagues, plus their families, will participate this year. They and their relatives have organized a number of events, such as pool, bowling and darts tournaments, and a Zumba event, to raise money ahead of Saturday, Berg said.

Berg said he thinks “it all just boils down to community” and the drive of local residents and organizations to volunteer as to why there has been such strong support of the St. Baldrick’s event in Havre de Grace.

“The volunteer fire department organizations in Harford County are very active in their communities,” Berg said. “Once word gets out, they just want to be part of it and help.”

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