The Wilder the Better at the Hairdressers Ball

Charity show on Aug. 14 includes Cold Spring salon

By Alison Rooney

Though the aim of most runway shows is to be fashion-forward, the “Hairdressers Ball” is seeking the opposite and is looking fashion-backward for  its Aug. 14 charity hair show, which invites participants to “walk down our red carpet time machine” sporting over-the-top do’s from decades past, all in service of raising funds to provide assistance for those in the Hudson Valley living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases. Included in the 16 hairdressers representing salons from Poughkeepsie to Woodstock is Cold Spring’s Sharon Verardo, the proprietor of A Twist of Fate salon on Main Street.

"Alice in Wonderland" characters, recreated in the 2015 Hairdressers Ball.  (Photo by Lauren Beale)

“Alice in Wonderland” characters, recreated in the 2015 Hairdressers Ball.  (Photo by Lauren Beale)

Given the 1970s as her theme (each salon was given a particular decade), Verardo has been hard at work conceiving and creating two looks for the occasion, one evoking a flower, with “petals” of hair and pink, yellow and orange extensions in the front, and a daisy ponytail behind.  For the other she is planning a “Hi-top ‘Fro” dyed orange, red, hot pink and yellow, to be sported with a red bandana, a la Jimi Hendrix.  Verdardo is working along with a friend, Robin McDowell, who is creating the accompanying make-up. Cold Spring’s Sammi Phillips, a Haldane senior studying cosmetology and interning at A Twist of Fate, is assisting.  Each salon is responsible for the full look, including costumes. The models for the looks will be Cold Spring’s Marcus Plummer and as well as Taylor Tadlock.

Hairdressers Ball, now in its sixth year, will take place at 4 p.m. at the Ramada Conference Center in Fishkill, and is one of Hudson Valley Community Services’ (HVCS) signature events, drawing hundreds to an intentionally zany runway show, designed to display creativity in an enjoyable way, complete with voting for the most amazing look as part of the proceedings. There’s a red carpet reception with hors d’oeuvres and door prizes (and a cash bar) before the big show, and an after-party with DJ Prephab at 6:30 p.m. in the Brass Rail nightclub.

The ticket purchase supports the HVCS’s many activities in the region.

Twist of Fate's Sharon Verardo re-working her "model's" hair in preparation for the real look, to be shown at the Hairdressers' Ball.  (Photo by A. Rooney)

Twist of Fate’s Sharon Verardo re-working her ”model’s” hair in preparation for the real look, to be shown at the Hairdressers’ Ball.  (Photo by A. Rooney)

HVCS’s mission is to “promote prevention and wellness for all people, to encourage life-affirming decisions maximizing their quality of life, and to coordinate care for those living with complex health conditions. We envision a world where people live healthy lives and have access to the coordinated care they need.”

With nine offices located throughout the region (the closest to Philipstown and Beacon are in Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Putnam Valley), HVSC offers its  clients — among other things — health services coordination, nutritional outreach support, a housing program, an emergency food pantry, legal support, transportation assistance, and they conduct support groups. Last year they provided services to over 3,500 individuals. Jay Dewey of HVCS notes, “Typically we work with people who have few resources and don’t know where to turn for help. We do everything we can to ensure our clients remain connected to the medical care and support services they need to have a better quality of life.” Each May, they host another fundraiser, a Hudson Valley AIDS Walk and 5K run.

A Beetlejuice group, from the 2015 Hairdressers Ball.  (Photo by Melisa Pendergrass)

A Beetlejuice group, from the 2015 Hairdressers Ball.  (Photo by Melisa Pendergrass)

Verardo would love to have some locals on hand to cheer her models on. “Let’s show them what Putnam County can do!” she exhorts. (A Twist of Fate is Putnam’s sole representative in the contest.) Verardo opened up her Main Street salon three and a half years ago, almost by accident after coming to Cold Spring and liking what she saw.  Although she knew no one here, “I thought it was a really neat little town and decided to give it a try.”  She’s happy she did, saying “I’m holding my own and I like it here.”  The salon gets a mix of tourists who decide to get a haircut on a whim (some of them come back again, too, just for another cut from her) and locals.  Verardo notes that she tries hard to keep her pricing low; she also enjoys talking to her clients.

Tickets for the Hairdressers Ball cost $30 and are available at A Twist of Fate, 135 Main St., 845-809-5880 or online at

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