On Your Mark, Get Set, Ready, Relay
by Sherrie Norris
While numerous fundraising events have been held in recent weeks leading up to the main event, the Watauga County Relay for Life will start taking shape at 2 p.m. on Friday, as members of this year's participating teams begin setting up tents along the track at Watauga High School.
According to Relay co-chairwoman, Kathy Idol, 34 teams with 481 members, along with hundreds of their family members and friends, are expected to gather this weekend to walk the track in their fight against cancer, to show their support for cancer survivors and to remember those whose battles were lost to the devastating disease.
With a local fundraising goal of $95,000 for the signature event of the American Cancer Society, the folks behind the scenes who work year 'round in the effort expect the 2014 Relay for Life to be another great success.
The football field at WHS will once again take on a festive atmosphere Friday as Relay for Life makes its presence known.
From 3- 5 p.m., pre-recorded music will fill the air as various activities kick off and individual teams set up shop for continued fundraising. Concession booths will open in the afternoon and provide food and drink throughout the evening.
The annual luminaria sale will continue from 3- 8:30 p.m. to allow extra time for the community to purchase candles and torches to honor and/or memorialize loved ones with cancer.
From 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., the Relay Store will be open for this year's souvenir purchases at which time the ever-popular silent auction will also offer many nice items.
Also beginning at 5 p.m., and continuing through 11 p.m., (with brief closures at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) the inflatable air walk, slide and climbing wall for kids will be open, provided by JUMP.
From 5 - 6 p.m., the survivor registration and gathering begins at the survivor's tent. Free T-shirts will be available for those who weren't able to attend the recent survivor's dinner.
From 5:30 - 6 p.m., the Appalachian Rhythm Cloggers will perform on the main stage.
From 6 - 6:30 p.m., opening ceremonies with welcoming remarks will be followed by the national anthem, sung again by Maggie Idol; an invocation will follow.
All activity will respectfully cease for the survivor and caregiver lap, which will be led by Jody, Mason and Maggie Barnes; the color guard will again be presented by of the High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association Of America.
A survivor reception will immediately follow.
From about 6:30 - 7 p.m., more live entertainment continues with Bethel Road Gospel, followed by Country Magic Cloggers from 7 -7:30 p.m.; Blue Country Band takes the center stage from 7:30- 8:10 p.m., Kinsey Green & the Bluegrass Mafia from 8:10 - 8:50 p.m. and Folk and Dagger, from 8:50-9:30.
The luminaria ceremony will begin at about 9:30 p.m. as the Relay Torch is brought in and memorial torches are lit; the silent luminaria lap will be led by bagpiper, Jamie Fish, at which time all participants and spectators are requested to remain silent. Teams are encouraged to walk as a group.
Golf carts will be available for transport after the Luminaria Ceremony
Raffle drawings will take place at the main stage at 10 p.m., followed by Bingo in the survivor's Tent, a Frozen T-shirt contest, a Trashy Fashion show and other fun games.
The official closing ceremony will be held at 11 p.m.
Greg Reece is serving as emcee and will provide sound equipment for the entire event.
Relay chairpersons, Kathy Idol and Brian Barker, encourage the community to be a part of one of the largest community events of the season and to show support for the ongoing fight against cancer.