Friday, May 03, 2013

TOP STORY >> Jacksonville’s Relay for Life is Friday

 Laurie Howard, owner of Wicked Salon in Sherwood, shows off the munchkin land portion of a painted tapestry that will be displayed in her Relay for Life team’s tent on Friday at the Jacksonville Community Center.

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville Community Center track isn’t yellow or made of brick, but the owner and staff of Wicked Salon in Sherwood will be strolling along it at 6 p.m. Friday to raise money for cancer research.

The theme for this year’s Relay for Life is movies. The salon at 8204 Hwy. 107 plans to emulate “Wizard of Oz” because it shares the name of a Broadway musical about the witch in the classic film. The team’s name is “The Wicked of Oz.”

Relay for Life is an annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society that promotes awareness of all types of cancer and brings survivors of the disease together.

Wicked owner Laurie Howard said, “We are the only Sherwood team. I just want to raise as much money as we can. I want to blow every other team out of the water.”

She blushed, concerned about sounding like an overly competitive first-timer.

Howard team, which was in the lead on Friday with $1,802, is one of 23 teams participating in Relay for Life this year. The salon’s fundraising goal is $5,000.

But her enthusiasm can only be described as inspiring.

Howard said someone asked her what prize she wants to win and she responded, “I want to win the satisfaction of knowing that I did my best.”

Three of her grandparents and several other relatives have died from cancer so this cause is close to her heart.

“I’m just wanting to make a difference,” Howard said.

She had never heard of Relay until the organizers of this year’s event contacted the salon after it held a cut-a-thon on Oct. 10. Wicked partnered with Sexy Hair products to raise money for Look Good Feel Better, a nonprofit that helps more than 50,000 women undergoing cancer treatments each year to cope with appearance-related side effects that can be devastating to their self-esteem.

Howard recruited 20 to 25 members for the salon’s team, she said, but just six of them have been active in preparing for the event.

The Wicked tent will be selling soaps, punch, pulled pork “monkey meat” sandwiches, cookies called “Toto’s treats,” cotton candy “tornados” and chocolate sheet cake squares that Howard is considering naming “melted witch.”

The salon has built several props and decorative items, including a tin man, the house that fell on the wicked witch, a munchkin land/scary forest/emerald city tapestry with red balloons as the coma-enducing poppies, metal tornado sculpture coming out of the tent, faux yellow brick road leading visitors into the tent, and rainbow balloon arch on one side of the tent.

Howard said she wants to give the tent a 3-D look and the props will help with that.

“It’s really going to be awesome,” she said.

Howard added that her team would be wearing costumes, too.

The salon owner is thankful to McDonald’s for donating sweet tea, Jaw Fabrication of Sherwood for donating the tornado sculpture, Sherwin Williams of North Little Rock for donating paint and Ad Sum Balloons of Sherwood for donating the balloon arch.

Howard is looking forward to “meeting all the people” at the event.

“I hope a lot of Sherwood people come out, eat and fellowship. We’re going to have things for kids and everyone,” she continued.

Howard is also excited about seeing the luminaria ceremony when candles in decorated paper bags are lighted to commemorate cancer victims who have died from the disease.

To donate, dedicate a luminaria to the team or to join it, visit

For more information, call the salon at 501-834-1145 or find the Wicked Salon and Boutique page on Facebook.