ZEBULON — It’s time to lace up the tennis shoes, round the track, play games, dine on delectable foods and spend time with others who share the common goal of “Givin’ Cancer the Boot.”
That’s the theme – a country-western one – for the 2013 East Wake Relay for Life, which is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday at Five County Stadium in Zebulon.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. for the Relay, held on the field behind the baseball complex. Survivor reception is from 5-6 p.m., and opening ceremonies will being at 5:50. The Survivor Lap will take place about 6:15 p.m. and the Kids Walk will immediately follow.
One of the most moving Relay rituals, the Luminary Ceremony, will begin at 9 p.m.
Those are some of the highlights of the event, but organizers say folks can expect to be entertained between those times and well into the morning hours for those who choose to go the distance. After all, the Relay doesn’t end until Saturday morning.
“The idea is that it is a family fun environment. It’s alcohol-, smoke- and pet-free,” event chair Vickie Curtis said.
For the kids, there will be special activities held under the picnic shelter following the Kids Walk. There will also be inflatables, a lassoing game for the youngsters and appearances by special characters like Muddy the Mudcat, Sparky the Fire Dog and the Majest Martial Arts Tiger, to name a few.
There will be other games for all ages throughout the Relay. There’s talk of a cornhole competition around midnight and a variety of team-sponsored events will take place after midnight. Those include a special laps around the track - in frozen T-shirts and crazy hats – and challenge-based activities.
In keeping up with the country-western theme, Relay organizers have enlisted the Jim Richie Project and The Seaside Band provide country music for the event.
A country-western dance class will be held after midnight and there will be a dance party at 3 a.m.
Those not planning to stay up that late can still get in on some of the country-western fun by riding a mechanical bull that has been reserved for the event.
Relay goers should also come ready to donate some of their money the night of the event. Some Relay teams have come up with incentive-based fundraising tactics.
Attendees can pay $5 to have someone they know sent to a dunking booth. For $15, a person can pay their way out of the tank, and for $25 they can purchase insurance to stay out of the tank all night long.
Curtis said other teams are talking about holding a dry version of the same fundraising tactic – a country jail. There, one person can pay for another person to be detained, and then the detainee has to raise the money to get out of jail, whether from their own wallet or someone else’s.
Along with Relay comes a surplus of tasty food. Those who go can expect to find about everything from fish sandwiches to homemade strawberry shortcake available by donation to the teams providing the Relay menu.
Those donations, like many donations people have made and teams have raised over the last year, fuel Relay’s main purpose – helping the American Cancer Society research for a cure for cancer.
“We’re encouraging people to come out and join us as we celebrate those who have won the battle, remember those who have lost it, and fight for those who are still fighting,” Curtis said. “We’re fighting to find the cure.”