There was quite a buzz in town Sunday, Oct. 16, and it was all about combating cancer on a community level.

The second annual “Joy to be Bald” benefit was held in the parking lot of Lori’s Cafe in Liberty, where locals turned out to bid on a variety of auction items and of course, who would win the rights to shave the heads of the men and women who stepped up for the extreme haircut.

Lori’s Cafe owner and event organizer Lori Mayer sweetened the deal for potential donors after the last head was shaved — that’s when the crowd was invited to bid on who would get to smash a pie in Mayer’s face.

This is the second year that Mayer held the fundraiser, which was originally set up to benefit her friend, Joy Mehuren, who passed away in July of 2011 following her battle with cancer. Mayer said she was initially unsure about holding the fundraiser this year because she was concerned about how it might impact Mehuren’s family.

“That was really the hardest thing, knowing it would bring up a lot of emotions for her family,” said Mayer, adding that many of Mehuren’s relatives were in attendance Sunday.

Mayer said some of the proceeds from “Joy to be Bald” will go toward establishing a college fund for Mehuren’s young grandson, J.D.

This year’s proceeds will also go toward helping another local lady who is fighting the disease — Lori Montminy, who attended Sunday’s event and even wielded the clippers to shave the head of her son, Christopher Montminy.

Montminy, with his freshly-buzzed head and a cancer awareness t-shirt that read “Real men wear pink” said he has never sported the bald look before but was willing to give it a try for his mom.

“This is all for her,” he said, making a sweeping motion with his hand out to the crowd. “It’s really good to see all these people who have come out for this.”

In addition to the many men who volunteered to have their heads shaved, including several of Mayer’s employees at the cafe, there were also a couple of women who sacrificed their hair for the cause — Katie Knight and Lacey Fuller McDermott.

Along with obtaining donations in exchange for getting the buzz cuts — Fuller McDermott received a $250 donation from Viking Lumber for shaving her head, and will get an additional $250 for shaving her dad’s hair — both women also had enough hair to donate to Wigs for Kids. The nonprofit organization serves children suffering from hair loss due to cancer treatments or other medical conditions, according to the organization’s website.

In the minutes that led up to the head-shaving sessions, Fuller McDermott said she wasn’t nervous until local news crews began requesting interviews with her on the day of the event. She said she had always kept her hair fairly short for much of her teen years and adult life because she didn’t have her first haircut until she was 10 years old. By then, Fuller McDermott said, her hair had grown past her knees.

Sunday, Fuller McDermott had hair that hung past her shoulders — and that was the longest she’d kept it since her childhood.

While folks prepared to be shorn — the women had to have their hair braided so that the locks could be donated afterwards — Tammie Mulvey led the crowd in a benefit auction, selling off gift certificates from local businesses and a wide variety of other items ranging from a flower arrangement to a potty chair.

Once all of the items were auctioned off, a nearby flatbed served as the stage for the very public haircuts, and soon the autumn wind carried tufts of discarded hair across the ground.

As Fuller McDermott’s husband Jim McDermott activated the clippers and began shaving his wife’s head, Fuller McDermott tapped her toes nervously, took a few deep breaths and when it was over, she commented that the breeze was much cooler than it was when she had a full head of hair.

“It feels really weird,” said Fuller McDermott, as she rubbed the top of her head. “I have to go see how it looks.”

Knight said she agreed to have her head shaved when she heard about the benefit from her roommate, Mike, who is also Mayer’s son.

“It feels cold,” said Knight with a smile. “I’m definitely buying more winter hats.”

Mayer said this year’s event drew people in to be shaved, volunteer their time and make donations early on in the planning stages.

“It was amazing, people stepped up before they knew where the money was going to go,” she said.

What makes “Joy to be Bald” a unique fundraiser, said Fuller McDermott, is that everyone involved knows one another, and many people know those who benefit from it each year.

“This is just community; this is Liberty, this is Waldo County, this is Maine at it’s finest,” she said.