April 24 • 06:47 AM

Relay kicks off Saturday

Fairgrounds hosts American Cancer Society fundraiser

May 28, 2008
IMLAY CITY — If you're looking for an uplifting family event that's close to home, look no further than the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds this Saturday.

Beginning at 10 a.m. and running for 24 straight hours is the 12th Annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Lapeer County. For the third consecutive year, the fairgrounds plays host to the community fundraising event, which offers something for everyone—including those who haven't been affected by cancer. There is no charge for admission.

"We really want people to know that you don't have to do anything to attend," says Carol Boom of the American Cancer Society. "Bring the family and enjoy. It's a festival. We want people to just come out and see it for themselves."

Indeed, though Relay 'teams' will be walking the track to raise funds and awareness for the cause, events planned throughout the 24 hour Relay for Life provide a festival atmosphere for a good cause.

Highlights include musical entertainment on two separate stages, a bounce house for children, games, team events, a silent auction and food and beverages provided by the Imlay City Lions Club.

Entertainers include Imlay City's own Don Capman, country singers and twin brothers R & R Doubletake, Almont's Eilersen family, Tantrum III and One Neo Eon featuring Rick Samano of Lapeer School of Music.

New this year is a 'Fight Back Ceremony' beginning at 2 p.m., and making a popular return at 3 p.m. is the "Miss"-ter Relay Contest.

During the conest, one male participant from each team is selected to don women's clothing and race around collecting donations in a purse. This year's theme is 'Relay through the Ages,' and the outfits will reflect fashions throughout the decades.

"It's really a lot of fun and people get a big kick out of it," Boom says.

At 6 p.m., a Survivor Celebration is planned, followed by a Luminaria Ceremony at dusk.

"It's the most moving thing to see the survivors walking the track by themselves to represesnt the battles they fought and are fighting," Boom says. "They draw strength from and relate to each other in a way that those who haven't had cancer aren't able to. It's something to see."

Relay Olympics will run from midnight to 2 a.m., followed by Black Out Bingo at 3 p.m. and a movie on the big media truck from 4-5:30 a.m.

The final lap will take place at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Last year's Relay for Life of Lapeer County raised a record $97,000 for cancer research. Boom says this year's participation level rivals that of 2007.

"We have more teams this year and a great committee of people who helped to put this on," she says. "We really hope people come out and see for themselves. It's jam-packed with entertainment and there's something going on all the time."

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