GREENBRIER -- Local students stopped by the Greenbrier Event Center on Friday and Saturday for the inaugural Back-to-School Bash that provided free haircuts and resources for other school needs.
Hosted by Bejoyus, LLC. and sponsored by Ambetter from Arkansas Health & Wellness, the two-day event provided Faulkner County students the opportunity to get a free back-to-school haircut and learn about other services.
Not only did the event provide opportunities for area students, but Bejoyus, LLC. Director Misty Pitman said the event also allowed local businesses to shine.
"We did the Back-to-School Bash to provide support for the community and local small businesses to give community members one place to come shop and to try to provide outreach for any families in the area that needed some assistance," she said Saturday afternoon. "It wasn't just Greenbrier kids [benefiting from this], any K-12 student in the county could come in and benefit from this."
Those attending the event were lured in by the sweet smells from the Oxner's Big Butts BBQ and Happy Heart Cajun Food trucks that set up just outside the event center's entrance.
Once inside, attendees were welcomed to sign up for free haircuts and tour the many onsite vendors.
Of those who attended the event were 15-year-old Rebecca Foreman and her mother, Shawna Brown. After spending the past year out of the structured school setting and trying out the home-schooling experience, Foreman said she was excited to re-enroll in public school.
The Back-to-School Bash served as a one-stop shopping experience as she gears up for the upcoming academic year.
Foreman said she enjoyed much of the vendors and described the event as "an awesome experience."
Her mother said she'd been looking forward to the Back-to-School Bash and was glad she and her daughter spent a mother-daughter day visiting the local vendors before grabbing a quick bite to eat together.
More than 50 local children received free haircuts during the event, courtesy of Crissy Hightower, owner of Main Salon in Conway.
Hightower and her fellow stylists, Reagan Mitchell and Mattie Rhoades, have earned a positive reputation to providing affordable haircuts in the area.
"She gives more free hair cuts than she charges for hair cuts. She just has a giving heart," Pitman said of Hightower. "She cuts hair at the Bethlehem House and also has people come into her salon with trinkets [and other items] they trade for hair cuts. She just has such a giving spirit."
The local stylist said she does what she can to help others and provide them a sense of self confidence.
"I just do it because I feel it's a blessing I can give back," she said.
During the two-day event, two local children decided to donate their long locks to Wigs for Kids.
Six-year-old Paige Hood donated several inches of her hair Friday evening.
Her mother, Amy, said her family enjoyed the event and that while she didn't expect for her little Paige to have so much hair cut off, she's glad her daughter is happy with her new look.
"We enjoyed the Back-to-School Bash yesterday," Amy told the Log Cabin Democrat on Saturday. "We met a lot of very nice vendors from in and around the Greenbrier community."
She said she knew Paige wanted a haircut, but didn't know just how short her 6-year-old was aiming for until the time to trim her hair came — and it was much more than a trim.
"We knew we wanted Paige to get a haircut," Amy said, adding Page then said she wanted to get her hair cut like Dora from Dora the Explorer. "I wasn't going to go quite that short, but upon learning she could give to [Wigs for Kids] if we did, we happily went for it. She loves her new haircut and that she was able to help someone too."
The 6-year-old girl, who will enter the first grade at Springhill Elementary later this month, loves her new cut thanks to the ladies at Main Salon.
Pitman said the main goal of the event was to provide a central location for school items and services and provide resources for community members and local business owners alike. She said she is excited to see how the program grows in the coming years.