Inside Ocean Wave Salon, hosts of Hair Matters gather, from left, Alison Spaulding, Wendy Enright, Debbie Porter and Deb Rich. (Benjamin D. Levesque photo)

SOUTH PORTLAND — The Knightville area, centered around Ocean, Cottage and E streets in South Portland, hosted the second annual Knightville Stroll Thursday, Dec. 13.

In the year’s largest local collaboration, a collection of nearly 30 restaurants, craft shops and houseware stores worked in unison to celebrate their connection.

While business owners opened their doors to patrons, as well as several booths to local home-based businesses, they held raffles to support the Stroll’s annual designated charity, Hair Matters. The charity was started by Debbie Porter following her experiences with breast cancer in 2012.

As a licensed hair stylist, she wanted to bring community support to cancer after her recovery, and she found her passion in making wigs for chemotherapy patients.

Hair Matters, founded and headed by Porter, seeks to restore a person’s identity despite the effects of cancer and its treatment on the body. Using the donated hair, or a patient’s hair prior to treatment, Porter creates customfitted wigs at minimal or no cost.

She said she aims to destigmatize and support those who have had cancer, and wants to “(bring) this type of service out of the medical world, and into salons.”

“It’s a grass roots effort, and we depend on the community to continue it,” Porter added.

Throughout the rest of Knightville, small businesses showed off their spirit.

Cape Veterinary Clinic recently moved to South Portland to support the same “neighborly” feeling, said Dr. Dawn Davis. In 2007, she and Dr. William “Bill” Flahive purchased the space; in the decade following, they have gained access to leading veterinary technology and close, one-to-one relationships.

“The challenge is to preserve the neighborhood feeling, and retaining customer ease,” Flahive said.

“It’s just neighbors loving neighbors,” said Julie Bernier, owner of Earth Angel Arts Gift Shop. “Knightville had a special, historic, beautiful energy. We want our neighbors to come out and say ‘hi’.”

The whole of businesses that participated in the event ranged from locally sourced food stores to chiropractic offices.

A number of establishments hosted smaller booths, such 207 Threads in the lobby of Cape Veterinary Clinic, or Sarge’s (custom-made pillows and designs) in Verbena, a coffee shop.

All around, businesses supported businesses; the Knightville community bonded as carolers sang and local vendors entertained in the streets.

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