The annual Relay for Life event will be held on the track at Rocky Mountain High School in Cowley on Saturday, Aug. 9. Normally, the event is held on the athletic playing field at Lovell High School, which is currently unavailable due to recent sod replacement.
“Rocky is graciously hosting the event for us this year and we really appreciate their generosity,” said organizer Carol Fink. “We don’t know what we would have done without them.”
The format of the event has changed from previous years in that it will begin at 5 p.m. and end at midnight. Previously it was an all-night event. Fink said organizers hope this will attract more participants.
“We are hoping that by shortening the amount of time, more people will feel they are able to attend the event,” said Fink. “We want the event to be accessible to all ages and we think it will be a more family-friendly event if it is not an all-night event.”
The theme this year is “Finish the Fight.” This is a nationwide theme for relay events that will be held across the country.
The evening will begin with tailgate food sales and a family carnival that will include games, a bounce house, a bouncy slide and face painting. The popular food offerings will include a variety of mostly home cooked food items provided by the teams participating in the event. The games will be coordinated this year by the VIP Preschool and Children’s Resource Center.
A special reception for survivors and their families will take place at 6 p.m. The reception will include cake and ice cream for those attending.
Official opening ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. featuring the color guard and a live performance of the National Anthem by former music teacher George Preis, of Lovell, followed by an introduction of the event organizing committee.
Laps around the track will begin with a survivor walk, caregivers will follow and then teams will begin their walk. Once the teams have completed their first lap, others attending the event are invited and encouraged to walk on the track.
“We hope that anyone who wishes to take a lap or more will join us,” said Fink. “Whether you are a caregiver, a survivor or just someone who wants to show support, please join us.”
Live entertainment by local musicians and other performing artists will begin after the initial laps and will continue throughout the evening. A complete list of entertainers was not available at press time.
A silent auction of special gift baskets donated by teams will also take place during the event. Fink said the baskets are expected to contain fun items as in years past.
At 10 p.m., a PowerPoint presentation will begin in honor of survivors and in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer. Fink said anyone is invited to submit photos of their loved ones for the slide show by contacting the event organizers.
Candlelit luminarias will light up the night following the slide show. In previous years literally hundreds of luminarias were lit during the event creating a dramatic tribute to those stricken with the disease.
The luminarias, which are available for purchase, are a paper bag holding a votive candle. Those purchasing a luminaria are invited to decorate the bag with a unique tribute to their loved one. The bags will be held down with cans of food that will be donated later to the local food pantry at the Methodist Church in Lovell.
At 11 p.m. a “Race to the Finish” 5K run will begin. Participants can sign up the night of the event and will receive a glow-in-the-dark t-shirt for their efforts.
The closing ceremonies this year will take place at the stroke of midnight. Last year, the event raised approximately $35,000. Though hoping to raise more funds than the previous year, Fink said the event is as much about “celebrating the fight and raising awareness” as it is about raising money.
All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society. For more information, contact Lori at 272-1601 or Carol at 272-1040. To purchase luminarias contact Kim Scheid at 272-5173. For information about survivor activities, contact Tianne Samson at 272-9802.
By Patti Carpenter