Celebrate life, honor loved ones at Relay

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

For one festive night at least, Elvis will be definitely be in the building.

Or should we say E.L. Turner Park on Friday for Crenshaw County's Annual Relay for Life.

Bill J. Brooks, a noted Elvis impersonator from Tupelo, Miss., will highlight the evening as people from across the county come to remember departed loves ones and celebrate the lives of those who have survived cancer.

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Sharon McGough, event coordinator for this year's Relay, said Brooks has been in this area before and agreed to come and perform for the crowd on Friday night. Brooks will perform at 8 p.m. Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m.

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. The theme for 2005 is 'Celebrating 20 Years of Life' said ACS Community Representative Jamie Donaldson.

Teams are up this year for Crenshaw County, said Donaldson with 19 total competing for the title of top fundraiser.

"The goal is over $70,000 this year and for a county as small as Crenshaw County is, that's very, very good," she said.

Donaldson also said sponsorships for this year's event is $4,000 more than what was totaled in 2004.

"I genuinely believe that people in the county are really excited about Relay for Life this year," she said. "I expect a good turnout and we're hoping for good weather."

Last year, more than 3,000 communities nationwide participated in Relay For Life and raised more than $243 million, making the event the largest fundraiser in the United States.

Along with Brooks, McGough said a number of local performers would entertain on Friday.

Prior to the 'King' taking the stage, the SheBang Cloggers, Gospel singer Harlan Burton, Scott Fowler, Bobby Tomberline and Kathy Till will sing and play.

The lighting of the candles for the Luminaria ceremony will be at 9:30.

Contestants will take the stage at 10:30 for everyone's favorite Mizz Relay Pageant 2005.

At midnight, the total collected by the teams to fight cancer will be announced, as will the top fundraisers for the year.

McGough said that's also when the 'real fun' begins as teams can compete in a number of different games and competitions.

"We have tug of war, limbo, a variation of the popular game show, 'Let's Make a Deal', and a sidewalk chalk game for the kids," she said. "We'll also have a Wet T-Shirt contest.'

But don't get your hopes up boys.

"Competitors will carry water in their T-shirt and try and to fill up buckets," she said, laughing.

Tonight, the Tom Hardin Farm Center will host a low-country shrimp boil in preparation for Friday night's main event. Tickets are sold out, but anyone wishing to may bring a lawn chair and enjoy live entertainment by Tomberline, the Kandu Band, John Barry Roberts, Fowler and Tony Brook.