Additions, changes to Relay lineup

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

It’s hard to believe, but the Annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life in Butler County is less than two weeks away.

The fundraising event is slated to kick off next Friday, May 6, at 6 p.m., and will continue into the early hours of Saturday morning at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

Organizers have been hard at work ironing out final details for the event, which is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Teams Chair Rebecca Richardson is pleased with the total of 35 teams involved in this year’s event.

&uot;We had about 20 last year so we are really excited about the number this year,&uot; Richardson says.

&uot;Also, I have had a great time seeing how the different teams are raising money – for example, First Lowndes has an Auburn-Alabama competition going on with their team. There have been bake sales, road blocks – folks are really getting out there and working,&uot; she adds. The 2005 goal for the Butler County Unit of the ACS is $100,000.

Several changes are planned for this year’s Relay event at the fairgrounds, says entertainment chair, Laurie Martin.

&uot;We have lots of new things going on and we are going to be very busy that night, and right into the morning, &uot; she comments.

From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. special kids’ activities will be set up, including a giant inflatable slide, inflatable moonwalk and a special balance beam activity where participants can test their skills with soft-ended &uot;jousting sticks&uot;.

&uot;For just $5, you can purchase an armband, come and go as you like, and play in these activities as much as you like from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.,&uot; Martin explains.

Richardson, who is the mother of a young child, is very happy to see the addition of these activities.

&uot;I know in the past I have been reluctant to go out [to Relay] wondering what there would be for a child to do, so I think this is great,&uot; Richardson says.

Yet another change: this year, teams will be able to participate in a cook-off that is not limited to any one type of food. &uot;We simply ask a team member to bring their dish to be judged to the stage at 7:30 p.m. and make sure it is marked with their name and their team’s name.&uot; Says Martin.

And for those who come to Relay, get hungry or thirsty and aren’t on a team, hot dogs, chips and drinks will be available for purchase, she says.

At 8 p.m. a drawing for four free Michelin tires and a mounting, courtesy of McKinley Tires, is planned, along with the kick off of the hula hoop competition.

As always, Martin says, everyone is asked to be quiet and respectful and move away from the track area during the evening’s Luminaria Ceremony, scheduled from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Following the ceremony, the cook-off and tent competition winners will be announced and three new, fun activities will begin, says Martin: swing dance competition, tug of war and ski walk competition.

And the piece de resistance of the evening, the infamous &uot;Dude Looks Like a Lady&uot; competition, is set for 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

For those who wonder why a later time slot for the popular pageant was chosen, it’s simple: &uot;We need people to stay later at Relay – it’s a requirement passed down from the national office –

and this is one event that people always want to stick around and see,&uot; explains Martin.

In fact, even after the announcements are made at 12:30 a.m. for the Spirit of Relay, team and individual awards and the Relay total for 2005 – things certainly don’t shut down at the fairgrounds.

&uot;From one a.m. on we will have volleyball, give away door prizes and offer folks the chance to be our ‘Relay Idol’ on stage, too.

And ‘Relay Idol’ is a competition anyone can be in, you don’t have to be part of a team,&uot; explains Martin, adding, &uot;These activities will continue throughout the night, so plan to stick around and join in the fun.&uot;

ASC Chair for Butler County, Joan Reynolds, also encourages everyone to come and join in the fun as funds are raised in the fight against cancer.

For more information on the RFL entertainment line up, contact Laurie Martin at 382-7476 or 313-5725.