‘Relay for Life’ event is set for tomorrow and Saturday in Paul Ogle Riverfront Park

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Switzerland County will again come together this weekend to help in the struggle to find a cure for cancer as it hosts its annual “Relay for Life” event.

This year’s event returns to the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park after organizers held it at the high school track and also inside the Switzerland County YMCA over the past few years. So far there are 12 teams signed up to participate in the “Relay for Life”, and already nearly $24,000 has been raised.

Everything gets started tomorrow (Friday) night, as Tycia Martin performs beginning at 5:30 p.m. She will be followed by the “Gospel Voices” at 6 p.m. Cancer survivors will also be honored at a special dinner at the high school cafeteria prior to the beginning of the event.

The opening ceremonies for the “Relay for Life” will begin at 7 p.m. as the local Boy Scout troop will present the colors, followed by The National Anthem being performed by Peggy Eckerty.

The first lap of each “Relay for Life” is reserved to honor those men, women, and children who are battling cancer, or those who have survived cancer. The opening lap will follow the opening ceremonies, and the “Gospel Voices” will perform a special song as the lap continues.

After the opening lap, cancer survivors will be joined for the second lap by their family members and caregivers, with another special song being sung by the “Gospel Voices”. Judging of team campsites will then begin at approximately 7:15 p.m.

After the second lap, each of the teams will then begin their “relay” of keeping a team member walking around the park. That will continue through the night, with special laps scheduled to help keep things lively for walkers.

At 11 p.m. there will be a stick horse lap; followed by a patriotic lap at midnight. At 1 a.m. there will be a pajama lap; with a hat and sunglasses lap set for 2 a.m. The 3 a.m. lap will find team members hula hooping their way around the course; and at 4 a.m. there will be a lap featuring noisemakers.

Those walking at 5 a.m. will be able to show their support for their favorite basketball team; while the 6 a.m. lap is reserved for all males. An all female lap will be the final theme lap, and it will be held at 7 a.m.

One the most popular events at each of the previous “Relay for Life” events is the benefit auction, which is being coordinated again this year by the staff of MainSource Bank. This year’s auction will get underway at 8 p.m.

Although several items have been collected for the auction, there is still time to make a donation of an item to be included. Simply take the item to either the Vevay or East Enterprise branches of the bank, or bring it to the “Relay for Life” tomorrow night.

At 9 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) night organizers will hold an “Ugly Legs” contest, which should be a popular event; and that will be followed by music featuring Dr. Marc Willage and Leona Adams beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Everyone will pause at approximately 10 p.m. Friday night for the Luminary Service, which has come to be one of the most special parts of the “Relay for Life” here. People can purchase a luminary in memory of a loved one who has died from cancer; or in honor and celebration of a person who is battling cancer or who has defeated the disease.

Lighted buckets containing the name of each person will be placed around the course, and just before the beginning of the luminary service, members of the Boy Scout troop will light the candles. All of the lights in the park will then be turned off, and all of the names will be read over the loudspeakers.

Following the luminary service, Rick and Donna Eick will provide entertainment on the main stage; and deejay Harold Cunningham will then provide music until 1 a.m.

Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of Switzerland County’s “Relay for Life” each year is the fun that teams have at their campsites during the event. Many teams have food or other items for sale at their camps; and there are also raffles and other fundraisers going on – all with the goal of helping find a cure for cancer.

Last year Switzerland County’s “Relay for Life” was one of more than 4,300 events held around the country.

The Switzerland County event is open to everyone, not just those on teams. Members of the community are invited to come down to the park, participate in the auction; purchase a luminary; and spend time with old friends – and make some new ones.