Relay teams encouraged to participate

Published 5:11 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

The praises of the flamingo-festooned purple toilet were sung and plans for a peppy, fun-filled event finalized at last week’s American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life team captains meeting, the final meeting before the May 12 event at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

“The response to the toilet as a fundraiser has been phenomenal, and we still have time to make more visits before May 12 and Relay,” said event and activities chair Gerri McGinnis. “Will it make an appearance Relay night? We will have to wait and see. But we’ve already had a lot of people buy ‘toilet insurance’ for this year and some of our schools have been keeping the toilet overnight and raising extra funds that way. It’s been a definite winner as a fundraiser for us!”

Speaking of fundraisers, the Pioneer Electric Relay team will bring back its popular boxed hot dog lunches from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 3. There will be four different types of hot dogs available, with chips, bottled water and a baked good inside each box. The cost will be $5 per box, and pre-orders will delivered if there are multiple boxes ordered by an office or business.

All teams were reminded to turn in any monies raised now rather than waiting until Bank Night (5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 11 in the space beside Abbie Gardner’s State Farm office). “We really want to be able to make that thermometer reading in front of the courthouse move, folks, and we can’t, unless you turn those monies in,” said McGinnis.

Teams were also reminded of the many ways they can make Relay more fun while earning Relay Bucks and the opportunity to take the coveted Spirit of Relay Trophy for 2017.

“Participate, participate, participate,” said team recruitment chair Abbie Ballew. “Campsite judging—fix up your tent to show our theme, ‘Colors of Cancer.’ And this year’s new addition—the parade floats! Remember, your float can be as long as you wish but nothing over six feet wide, it has to be people-powered, and you can have people dressed up walking with it,” said Ballew.

“Be creative—it can be based on a child’s wagon, or a series of boxes fastened together, or you can wear it, like a sandwich board. You can paint it, paper it, glitter it . . . use those imaginations,” added McGinnis. “Just be sure and reflect our theme, ‘The Colors of Cancer.’” The floats will be judged prior to the Luminaria ceremony.

Teams were also encouraged to each enter a contestant in the Relay Idol contest, and reminded that talent isn’t limited to singing. “You can sing, dance, clog, play an instrument, do magic tricks . . . we do ask you provide your own music; we will have the sound system and mics, or you can sing a cappella,” said McGinnis. “There is a four-minute performance limit per contestant.” And teams should also send over contestants for the twister contest and the Auburn/Alabama tug of war, said Ballew.

All teams are reminded to bring a cake (store-bought is OK) for the adult cake walk, a specialty “from-scratch” baked good for the silent auction, and at least one door prize to be given away at Relay.

“As for door prizes, they can be for a specific service such as a hair cut or a car wash, and not just an item,” said McGinnis.

For the younger set, a long list of activities is in the works with their own roped-off area, including bouncy houses for younger and older kids (to be deflated before the Luminaria ceremony), photo booth, hula hoops, glow stick bowling, bingo and cupcake walk.

Longtime Relay volunteer and two-time cancer survivor Bennie Payne had warm words to share with those present at the final team meeting.

“I just want to congratulate all you young people for doing so much, it’s just great. I’ve been doing Relay for a long, long time and you impress me with all your ideas and energy.”

The next Relay-related event is the Relay Survivors’ Luncheon, set for May 5 at 11:30 a.m. at the Walnut Street Church of Christ Fellowship Hall (behind Trustmark Bank downtown), to be followed by Bank Night on May 11 (team captains are required to turn in funds in form of a cashier’s check that night). The Butler County Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society is set to kick off at 6 p.m. that night.