Kansas hairstylist and BarkAID founder Patrick Lomantini rolled into Newtown Tuesday morning, August 6, at 1 am, along with stylists Zachary DiBella of Idaho and Alexis Longworth of Ohio. Seven hours later, the threesome was set up and under way for a 12-hour cutathon at Salon Michele on Queen Street, to benefit the Sandy Hook cat rescue organization, Kitten Associates. (See the July 26, 2013 edition of The Newtown Bee, “BarkAID Will Offer Cuts For Cats.”)
By 4 pm, the hair stylists were halfway through the 81 appointments scheduled in Newtown, the sixth stop on BarkAID’s third annual 50 States in 50 Days Tour.
“The states have started to become a little competitive, about which one will have us do the most hair cuts in a day,” said Mr Lomantini, as he took a brief break between clients. “Newtown is closing in on last year’s highest total, though,” he said. Hartsville, S.C. finished up in 2012 with 105 hair cuts given to support animal rescue there, he said, the most cuts in a day in any state. Even though only 81 appointments were scheduled in Newtown on Tuesday, with four hours left, Mr Lomantini said he would not be surprised if walk-ins at Salon Michele brought Newtown neck and neck with Hartsville.
The great thing, additionally, Mr Lomantini said, is that with 45 haircuts done and a third of the day still to go, over $1,000 had already been raised for Kitten Associates. “Some people are donating more than the $20 suggested donation,” he said.
Inside the salon Tuesday afternoon, clients waiting for cuts found three playful kittens providing amusement. The kittens are among the rescues fostered by Kitten Associates, founded by Sandy Hook resident Robin Olson.
Of all 50 stops scheduled, Ms Longworth said she was most excited to come to Newtown. “I couldn’t wait to come to Connecticut, and make a difference,” she said, as she prepared for yet another haircut.
“I can’t believe how successful it has been so far,” salon owner Michele Schettino said. “It’s great to be a part of this BarkAID event.” Ms Schettino also expressed gratitude for her staff, all of whom had donated their time and talent to the event.