Everyone invited to Relay

The public is invited to camp out, play games, eat food and rally against cancer at this year’s Barnes County Relay for Life. The event will kick off Friday at 6 p.m. and will last through the night, ending at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Team developer Carol Grenz said that while it’s too late to coordinate a team, anybody is welcome to Relay at any time throughout the event.

Members throughout the community have formed teams, which held fundraising events before the Relay and will have booths set up at the rally. The Bowling Olies and Bjentson teams are formed from family members, while Team Nemo consists of high school students. Local businesses are also involved. Punky’s Bar and Grill in Dazey has a team called Boxing for a Cure, and Mercy Hospital and Lafarge Dakota Inc. also have teams. Lafarge’s team is silent, so they will not have a booth set up but have raised plenty of money.

Locals and businesses have donated items for a silent auction that will be held at 6 p.m.

Funds raised from all fundraising events will go to the American Cancer Society to aid in discovering new medications, cures and equipment, Grenz said.

Funds aren’t the only thing being raised. The Relay for Life raises awareness for cancer. Lisa Black, member of Relay for Life, said the event lasts all night to remind people that cancer never sleeps.

The night will not be short on activities. Grenz said she encourages the public to attend the event either to walk around the track at Lokken Field or enjoy some of the booths set up with food and games.

The games range from miniature bowling to tic tac toe. There will also be face painting and hair braiding stands. Teams will sell food such as fry bread tacos, cotton candy and barbecues.

The night will begin with a survivors reception under the stadium. Mindy Olauson, chair, said this gives cancer survivors participating in the event an opportunity to sit and talk out of the sun for a bit before their lap. Snacks and cake will also be provided.

The opening ceremony will begin at 7. Committee members, teams and sponsors will be introduced. Shelby Hatch will sing the National Anthem, and Lisa Black will speak.

Then the survivors and caregivers will begin their lap. Olauson explained that the survivors have the opportunity to introduce themselves and share their cancer journey before beginning their lap.
Caregivers of cancer patients will meet the survivors half way, and they will all finish the lap together.

Big Hammer Entertainment will provide music and entertainment starting at 8 p.m. At midnight, the entertainment laps begin.

Grenz said she’s looking forward to the luminary ceremony, which begins at 10. Anybody can purchase luminaries at Leever’s courtesy counter for just $5. “They can decorate them however they want,” Grenz said.

The luminaries are lit in honor of anyone affected by cancer.

Black, who will coordinate the luminary ceremony, said the Relay is trying something new this year: instead of using candles in the luminary bags, they will use glow sticks due to regulations with the new track.
The bags will stay lit for Relayers to see while circling the track.
The HOPE sign will also be lit during the ceremony. The sign spells out the word “hope” with luminary bags and will sit on the opposite side of the grand stands so everyone can see it. Olauson said sometime during the night, the sign will change to read the word “cure.”

Activities will slow down through the early morning hours, but Sodexo will serve breakfast bright and early Saturday morning at 4 a.m. Paul Leier will walk the final lap at 6 a.m.

Relay for Life is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, which, according to its website, helps communities across the globe celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease.