Community members will have the opportunity to join the fight against cancer inside an air-conditioned facility this year. The 10th annual South Barry County Relay For Life will begin in the First Baptist Church Family Life Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 15.
"People should plan to attend the Relay, because it will be held indoors this year," said Carol Craig, South Barry County Relay For Life co-chair. "There will be no rain and no bugs. Plus, all of the activities will be more in one area, which we believe will give the event even more of a celebration atmosphere."
Relay teams will still be asked to set up booths for the event. The theme for this year's event is "teams." Relay groups will be encouraged to decorate their booths with sports team memorabilia and items that celebrate other types of teams.
A track will be formed in the middle of the facility's gymnasium using luminarias.
This year's Relay will offer all of the traditional activities that have been featured at past events. The Relay will begin with the Survivor Lap, which honors local cancer survivors and individuals who are currently fighting the disease by giving them the opportunity to complete the first trip around the track.
"If you have never been to a Relay before, you will not want to miss opening ceremonies," said Craig. "It is inspiring to see all of the survivors."
Survivors attending the Relay are encouraged to come early for the annual Survivor's Dinner, which will be held in the Family Life Center game room at 5:30 p.m. John Sullivan will serve burgers and other cook-out-style cuisine. Attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy cake and live entertainment.
The gospel group The Lakings will perform on the stage in the gymnasium at 7 p.m. following the Survivor Lap. Wyatt Clevenger, a member of the bluegrass group Timberline, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Relay theme laps will begin at 8 p.m. with a celebration lap. Participants will be encouraged to wear party hats and carry pom poms, banners and party noise makers.
Rosenbach Warrior Training Branches (RWTB) Family Martial Arts Center in Cassville will perform at 8:30 p.m.
The 2011 Relay For Life basket auction, which features baskets designed and filled by the 11 teams participating in this year's event, is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. Lane Truman has volunteered to serve as basket auctioneer for the third consecutive year.
The luminaria ceremony, a presentation designed to recognize friends and family members who lost their battle with cancer, will be held at 9:30 p.m. Battery-operated tea lights will be used to illuminate the luminarias lining the track during the emotional ceremony.
Community members can memorialize loved ones or recognize friends and family members who are still fighting cancer by purchasing luminiarias in their names. Luminarias will be sold at the Relay or can be purchased online at www.relayforlife.org/sbcmo.
Individuals who purchase luminarias are encouraged to submit photos of their friends or family members, which will be included in a slideshow that will be played during the ceremony.
"The luminaria ceremony will get you," said Craig. "When you look at the photos of all the people we have lost and all those who are still fighting, it touches you."
The Relay theme laps will continue at 10 p.m. with a "sock it to cancer" lap. Relay participants will wear crazy socks. The 11 p.m. theme lap is "Hawaii doin'?" and participants are asked to wear tropical attire.
J. Rock and the Third Street Band will perform after the luminaria ceremony from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Then, Relay "queens" will have the opportunity to collect funds for the American Cancer Society by entertaining the Relay crowd and competing in the annual Relay For Life Queen Contest. The comical event is scheduled to begin at midnight.
The Fight Back Ceremony will return to the Relay for the fourth consecutive year. The event will be held at 1 a.m. At that time, participants will also take part in the "no disguising it" lap by wearing costumes and disguises.
Other theme laps scheduled for the night include: "remember," 2 a.m., participants will carry photos and momentos from friends and loved ones who have lost their battle; "rock cancer's world," 3 a.m., participants will wear rock star gear; and "hats off to Relay," 5 a.m., participants will wear funny hats.
Closing ceremonies will begin at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The South Barry County Relay For Life Committee will present awards and recognize teams that earn fundraising honors.
"We will have 'Minute To Win It' games throughout the night," said Craig. "Our teams will be serving popcorn, hotdogs, snow cones, barbecue nachos, pizza, brownies on a stick, fruit, Frito pie, chili conies, donuts and lots of other treats.
"We have some new teams this year," said Craig. "It's going to be a whole different atmosphere indoors. It is going to be really fun."
Strollers, wagons and motorized wheelchairs will be allowed inside the Family Life Center for the Relay.
The 2011 Relay For Life Committee established a $59,000 fundraising goal for this year's event. Last year, the event raised over $58,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Area residents are invited to participate in the 12-hour Relay For Life event, which requires teams and individuals to walk, jog or run the Cassville track to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
"Almost everyday you hear of someone else who is battling this disease," said Craig. "I'm sure everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. This is your chance to fight back."
The 2011 Relay For Life of South Barry County Committee includes: Craig; Julie Grillone, co-chair; Rhonda 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.