The annual Washington County/Johnson City Relay for Life fundraising festival for the American Cancer Society will step off this afternoon at 2 at the lakeside festival area at Winged Deer Park.
Close to 40 Relay for Life teams made up of nearly 1,000 volunteers who spend the year raising money for the fight against cancer will participate in the eight-hour relay walk and carnival-like activities that go on around it.
A combination fundraiser, awareness event and a memorial to those who have lost their lives to cancer and celebration of those who have survived, this year’s relay will include a large lineup of opportunities to have fun while advancing the fight against cancer.
Staged for the first time on the park’s lakefront festival grounds, the entertainment will include a car, truck and motorcycle Cruise-In to a Cure, a Relay for Life Grill-Off, onstage dance performances by The Dandy Lines and Watts Dance Studio, live music by YKG Young Kids Generation, East 26 with B Watts, Sullivan Street, JB Five-n-Dime, Kryss Dula & Friends, and to top off the night, a Relay Dance Celebration.
Relay traditions prominently featured in the lineup of activities include a Ceremony of Hope with an honorary cancer Survivors and Caregivers Lap, and a luminary ceremony to take place at dusk in remembrance of loved ones and friends who have died with cancer.
To help beat the heat, fans and misters will be set up around the relay course and festival area, and a giant water slide will be set up in the Kids Zone.
ACS Community Representative Jennifer Poff has dubbed this year’s relay a “Block Party of Hope,” and is encouraging everyone to come out in support of the ACS and the local cancer patients it assists.
“We are so excited about our new location, our fabulous entertainment, our grill-off competition, our cruise-in, our survivors and caregivers, our luminaries, our kids zone and so much more,” she said.
Thanks to a long list of local businesses who support the relay through financial sponsorships and in-kind gifts, admission is free and all money raised by the relay teams goes directly to the ACS.
Historically, the Washington County/Johnson City Relay raises more than $100,000 for the ACS annually, While a portion of the funds go to cancer research funded by the cancer society, a larger percentage is used to help local cancer patients with the incidental and costs of their treatment — transportation, medication and even food.
Even at this late hour, Poff said, “It's not too late to join in on the fun. We would love to have you.”