By LYNELLE A. MILLER
Gary Barclay is revved up and ready for the Midnight Parade. He is committed to making it one of the best parades yet.
That is why he decided to cut off and color his hair —that he has been growing out for the past two years — to make his “Star Wars” float more authentic.
Complete with the Death Star, R2D2, Princess Leia, Yoda, Chewbacca, C3PO, an Ewok made from giant teddy bear, light sabers, an X-Wing fighter pilot, Darth Vader, a Jedi and much more, Barclay said his “Star Wars” float will really stand out.
Barclay will be playing the part of Luke Skywalker which meant cutting off and dying his hair.
Monday, Barclay, 49, who works as a security officer at the Madison County Government Center, went to stylist Debra Butler at JCP Salon in Anderson to get his hair cut off.
As Butler tied Barclay’s hair back in a pony-tail and began to snip off approximately 10 inches, he began tearing up.
“I didn’t think I’d get emotional,” he said. “But it’s hard to have it gone. I read about girls crying when they cut off their long hair. I said that wouldn’t be me and look at me now.”
After Butler finished shaping his new look, Barclay stood from the chair pulling his fingers through his short hair. “It feels a lot lighter,” he said smiling and shaking his head from side to side.
Since Barclay was getting rid of so much hair, he decided to donate the pony tail to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
“I’m a member of the USS Endeavour (the local Star Trek fan club in Madison County) and one of the members told me I should donate my hair,” said Barclay. “I had heard about the organization before so I went on the Internet and read more about them. So, not only is this for the parade, but I’m glad I’m able to help people.”
While Butler finished trimming up his hair, Barclay called his wife. Not even seeing it yet, his wife said she already knew she’d like it.
“I’ll like it better when it’s really short,” said Austa, his wife.
Although it’s a giant personal event, Barclay’s hair is only one small piece of his “Star Wars” float.
“I think I’ve put close to 100 hours into this, if not more,” said Barclay.
Recruiting family and friends, Barclay said there will be more than 20 characters represented from the “Star Wars” films surrounding his float.
“I got the idea because it’s the 30th anniversary of ‘Star Wars,’” said Barclay. “So I decided to put together a float for the Midnight Parade.”
Barclay also said he wanted to carry on the tradition of the USS Endeavour who has had a float for the past five years in the parade. “They have won first place three out of the five years,” he said. “This year, the group has taken over security and is helping out behind the scenes. I wanted to continue the tradition of having a float. Also, we are trying to reinvigorate the parade. I think people will really be impressed.”
If you go...
What: Midnight Parade
When: 12:01 a.m. Wednesday
Where: Downtown Anderson