The one place to be this coming weekend is the annual Relay For Life as it continues on its quest to raise $1 million.
This is the fourth annual Relay in Drumheller. The event kicks off at the Drumheller Stampede and Ag Society grounds at 5 p.m. on Friday night, June 11, and continues until dawn Saturday morning. Organizer Merridy Martin said all the elements are in place to have a successful event.
So far, there are 18 teams signed up for the event. These teams have been feverishly raising funds to support those with cancer and cancer research. The creed of the event is to Remember, Celebrate and Fight Back, and the whispers made by the teams speak volumes for those affected by cancer.
The Relay For Life opening ceremonies begin at 7 p.m., and these immediately lead into the Survivor’s Lap. This is where cancer survivors stand up and are counted as victors. To inspire the event along, piper Dave Daly will lead the procession. This year they expect another strong showing with at least 85 survivors signed up to take part.
This is followed by the team parade where team members take to the track to start their personal relay. This is also a time for costume judging. Every year enthusiastic teams, often with a theme, will show their true colours. Any guesses as to what Relay stalwarts the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Elvis will be wearing?
After the parade, the main stage lights up with locally grown entertainment. First up: Live in Stereo. Other entertainers to follow include Starland Sadie, Band O’ Coots, and taking the midnight slot is Fire Coulee Bandits.
In a Relay For Life tradition, at 10:30 p.m., the Luminary Ceremony will take place. This starts with a minute of silence and one by one, the luminaries, small bags that are bought in dedication of those who have won the battle with cancer, those who have lost, or those who are still battling, are lit. In short work, the track is illuminated with all these wishes. Luminaries can be purchased in advance from ScotiaBank in Drumheller as well as online. They will also be available onsite.
Throughout the night emcee Jason Blanke will be holding court directing the action, which includes all kinds of other activities including possibly a limbo contest, a head shaving, face painting, and to get the blood going in the early hours of Saturday morning, a rooster calling contest.
Martin is grateful for the support the Relay continues to garner from the community and is confident the event will break the $1 million mark.
“We are sure hopeful,” said Martin.
To prepare for this year’s Relay, Martin said there is a volunteer’s meeting at the Stampede Barn tonight (Wednesday, June 9) at 7 p.m. to organize for this year’s event.