The 2011 Relay For Life of South Barry County will be celebrated in a new location this July. Community members who attend the event will enjoy food, entertainment and games inside the First Baptist Church Family Life Center in Cassville.
"This year, the Relay is an indoor event," said Carol Craig, Relay For Life of South Barry County Committee co-chair, "so, we don't have to worry about the weather, the wind, the heat or the rain."
Last year, a surprise storm forced 13 Relay teams to set up camp at the Cassville Football Stadium twice. Strong winds and heavy rain tore down several booths just hours before the event was scheduled to begin.
"This is our 10th year for the local Relay," said Craig. "The American Cancer Society suggests that after 10 years you change the event up a little, so we decided to move it indoors."
Relay teams will still be asked to set up booths inside the Family Life Center. A track will be formed in the middle of the facility's gymnasium using luminarias.
"We have several groups lined up to perform," said Craig. "We plan to have entertainment during the Survivor Dinner and the Relay."
The theme for this year's local Relay is teams. Relay groups will be encouraged to decorate their booths with sports team memorabilia and items that celebrate other types of teams.
"We are looking for as many teams as we can get," said Craig. "The deadline to sign up a team is Thursday, May 19."
Teams will have the opportunity to host individual fundraisers between now and July. Groups can also raise funds during the Relay by selling food, crafts and other items or selling tickets for drawings or games.
This year, teams will be working to reach the $59,000 fundraising goal that has been set by the Relay committee. The funds will benefit the American Cancer Society, which assists individuals battling cancer in Barry County.
"We are trying to put together a garage sale event for all the Relay teams to participate in," said Craig. "That will be held in June. A lot of the different teams are working on other fundraisers. I heard that the (St. John's Hospital-Cassville) team is even putting together a volleyball tournament.
"I've encouraged the teams to think of something different for fundraising this year," said Craig.
As in the past, the 2011 Relay For Life will begin with the Survivors' Lap. Local cancer survivors will be asked to open the event by making the first lap around the Relay track. Survivors will also be honored during the Survivor Dinner, which will be held prior to the Relay.
"The Survivor Dinner will be like a cookout," said Craig. "It will be a come-and-go event with entertainment and food."
This year's Relay For Life activities will also include the annual basket auction, the Relay Queen Contest and the luminaria ceremony.
"Tara Beck is in charge of luminaria sales again this year," said Craig. "She plans to use the battery-operated tea lights to light the luminarias."
The luminaria ceremony is held each year to memorialize those who have lost their fight with cancer. Luminarias can also be purchased to honor survivors.
A variety of games and other activities will be offered by teams and the Relay Committee throughout the 12-hour event, which will begin at 7 p.m. on July 15 and end at 7 a.m. on July 16. The closing ceremony will honor team participants and top fundraisers.
Individuals and groups interested in participating in the 2011 Relay For Life event, survivors interested in registering for the event and businesses and organizations interested in serving as sponsors or making donations should visit the Relay website at relayforlife.org/sbcmo.
Community members can also plan to attend the team captain meeting at the St. John's Hospital-Cassville administrative building at 5:30 p.m. on May 19.
The 2011 Relay For Life of South Barry County Committee includes: Craig; Julie Grillone, co-chair; Stafford; Robyn Kier and Robby Jester, recruitment assistants; Tracy Roney, fun and games chair; Kathy Peterson, basket auction and accounting chair; Carissa Craig, online chair; Anita Fare, survivor chair; Jean Sturgell, entertainment chair; and Shana Daniels, sponsorship chair.