10th annual ‘Relay for Life’ event : ‘A decade long, and still going strong’

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For the 10th consecutive year residents of Switzerland County and surrounding areas will come together to participate in the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” event to raise money for cancer research – and after 10 years here, the event has ended up right back where it started.

This year’s Switzerland County event will be held at the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay, the same venue that the very first “Switzerland County Relay for Life” happened in 1999. For the past few years the event has been held at the Switzerland County High School track.

This year’s theme celebrates the event’s 10th birthday: “A Decade Long, and Still Going Strong.”

This year’s event kicks off with the Survivors Dinner, which will be held at the Switzerland County High School cafeteria, and will begin at 5 p.m.

Letters were to individuals that the organizing committee was aware of, but organizers also know that there are many people who have been recently diagnosed, taking treatments, or who are in remission that they are unaware of.

Everyone is invited to attend the Survivors Dinner, regardless of whether or not you received a letter.

Honorees who wish to attend the banquet are asked to RSVP to Ruth Lohide at 534-3002.

Following the dinner, survivors and their caregivers and family members are asked to join all of the teams down at the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park, where the actual event will begin at 6 p.m.

Prior to that, Tycia Martin will be entertaining everyone down at the riverfront while teams set up their campsites from 5:30-6 p.m.

At 6 p.m., the event will officially kick off with the presentation of the Colors by the local Boy Scout troop; and the “National Anthem” will be sung by Peggy Eckerty.

Then, at approximately 6:15 p.m. the ceremonial first lap of the event will be completed by cancer survivors and cancer warriors, and the organizing committee says that the theme of the opening lap is “All are Our Heroes.”

That will be followed by a lap where survivors will be joined by family members and their caregivers at approximately 6:30 p.m., and everyone will enjoy Norman Romans of Lamb, who will be singing “Angels Among Us” at that time.

Norman Romans will then entertain everyone from 6:30-7 p.m.; as team members begin to walk around the track.

This year there are 16 teams registered for the event: Team Sullivan; Fishing Buddies; FFA; Olive Branch Baptist Church; YMCA; New Liberty Baptist Pioneers; Dumpster Diving Divas; Luau for Life; MainSource Bank; Jefferson-Craig Elementary School; Trinity Baptist Church; Russell’s Angels; Florence and Friends; 4-H Castaways; Mom-Pop; and Trump Pavy.

The always popular “Relay for Life” auction will begin at 8 p.m.; and individual team camps will have games and fundraisers going on throughout the night.

Members of the community are invited to come down and spend some time and support the event by bidding and buying at the auction.

At approximately 9 p.m., and annual “fashion show” will take place, and this year some men in the community will by vying for votes will wearing outfits created from duct tape and toilet paper. The winner of the fashion show will receive an overnight’s stay at the Best Western Ogle Haus Inn.

So far, entrants in the fashion show include Kevin Smith; ‘Tater’ Powell’ and high school coaches Brian Bowen, Mark Boggs, Adam Dennis, and Sean McGarvey. Others may be added to the lineup as the event nears.

Entertainment will continue at 9:30 p.m. featuring Leona Adams and friends; and at 10 p.m. all activities will pause as the luminary service takes place.

Always one of the most moving facets of the “Relay for Life”, the luminary service will feature candle-lit buckets ringing the track, with each bucket carrying the name of a person who is either battling cancer or was purchased in memory of someone who fought cancer.

Luminaries are available for purchase from members of any of the teams; or can be purchased tomorrow (Friday) night at the event.

The names of everyone who has had a luminary purchased in their honor will be read; as team members continue to circle the track, illuminated only by the candles.

Following the luminary service, the lights will come back on, and the event will continue with deejay music provided by Harold Cunningham until 1 a.m.

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Teams in this year’s “Relay for Life” are being asked to create a ‘flag’ for their team that will be carried during the opening lap as each team is introduced. The flag will also be carried on the hour when each theme lap begins so that each team’s entrant can be recognized.

Every hour there is a particular theme lap, and each entrant in that lap will be judged.

At 10 p.m., or immediately following the Luminary Service, will be the “Candle Walk”; and that will be followed at 11 p.m. by the “Elvis Lap”, with team members either dressing like Elvis, or dressing in 1950s fashion. The “Hot Rod” lap will be held at midnight, with a team member being asked to build their own car for the lap.

At 1 a.m. there will be a “Slam Dunk Lap”; followed by the “Best in Show Lap” at 2 a.m. with a dressed up pet. At 3 a.m. will be the “Walking with Baby Lap”; followed at 4 a.m. by the “Limbo Time Lap”.

Everyone will get into the “Purple Spirit Lap” at 5 a.m. – the official color of the “Relay for Life”; and that will be followed at 6 a.m. by the “Coffee Break Lap”. The final theme lap of the night will be at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.

For each of the theme laps, a winner will be named and a ribbon will be awarded for that team’s campsite. At 6:30 a.m., the ribbons will be counted at each campsite, with an overall winning team then named.

But the real winners of the night are those who are battling cancer. All proceeds from the event go to the American Cancer Society.