WALLA WALLA -- More than 300 women with great hair and great makeup, and one with a great array of giraffe spots on her torso, spent their Saturday night showing off what they do best, while raising money to help cancer patients make ends meet.
"This is our time to shine, to do something like this. I mean people don't wear this every day," Misbehaven Spa & Salon stylist Cassi Puller said, shortly after seeing some of her wild animal creations walk the runway at the inaugural Pink Ball.
One of those creations was a young woman who probably wore more spots than clothes and was topped with giraffe horns made up of her hair.
"Let me tell you, her hair was a challenge, it wouldn't stay up," Puller added.
The Pink Ball was put on by the cancer patient support group JUGS -- Just Us Girls Sharing.
What they shared on Saturday night at the Walla Walla County Fairground Pavilion were a competitive spirit, flashy designs, food, wine and plenty of laughs, all to help raise money for the JUGS cancer patient relief fund.
"When we went into this, we just wanted to break even," JUGS Vice President Traci Jensen said.
The first-time fundraiser will probably do much better, as 185 tickets starting at $50 per ticket were sold.
Jensen estimated the event could make about $5,000 for the fledgling group that is still less than two years old and best known for its Paint The Town Pink hair extension fundraiser.
As Jensen spoke, a tiara in her hair sparkled, which was another key part of the fundraiser, signifying she was one of the cancer survivors at the event.
"That is what we really want to do, is honor the survivors and those who lost their lives to cancer. And to go out and have fun," Jensen said.
Fun is what they had, especially during the runway show, which included a special appearance by City Manager Nabiel Shawa, who played a businessman in pursuit of an eye doctor.
A few other city employes made their runway debuts during a dance to the Village People's YMCA.
Todd Stubblefield, a city firefighter, came out dressed as the Indian, while firefighter Ryan Pleasant played himself in the YMCA lineup, as did city police Officer Marcus Goodwater, who played the motorcycle cop in the infamous lineup. Though Goodwater was not allowed to wear his badge or official uniform for the dance routine, in keeping with department policy.
The three city employees were flanked by a few other men who donated their moderate dancing skills, as they portrayed a construction worker, sailor and cowboy.
"It's about the community, and we are helping friends. And it's for a good cause," Shawa said, shortly before his runway stint with his fellow city employees. Then later he worriedly asked, "You didn't bring a camera?"
As much fun as the event was, there was also a competitive side to it.
For all four Mondays in March, intermixed teams of hairstylist from local salons competed in creating hair designed based on four themes: the beehive, vortex, Rangpur 57 and Olive Oyl.
The Monday night competitions were scored by a mixture of judges and votes received on Facebook.
"It was great. We could really get creative with the hair and makeup," Puller said, though she admitted the competitions and the runway turned out to be a lot of extra work, but for a good cause.
The teams that competed in the fundraisers included eight local salons, one boutique and one dance studio: Four Feathered Sparrow, C Salon, Bliss Spa and Salon, Hair Tech Academy, Misbehaven Spa & Salon, Above & Beyond, City Slickers, Impress Salon, Studio Opal and the Dance Center.
The winner of the runway competition on Saturday night was Carlie Hatley-Gordon of C Salon.
Of course the real winners were the cancer patients who will benefit from the $5,000 in relief funds, as well as the hair stylists who got do get a little wild with their designs.
"I think this was kind of a big city feeling. I heard one of the girls say, 'It was just fun to be ale to do something you have always dreamed of doing.'" Jensen said.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.