With themed laps all through the night, visits from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, games, contests and a wide array of food, including Twinkie Dogs and Krispy Kreme Burgers, organizers of the Greater Auglaize County Relay for Life deemed it a success.
“We had a really good turnout,” Relay for Life Chair Tiffany Fullenkamp said. “We really got the word out and had a great line up of events.”
The event kicked off with the opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday. A variety of games, activities and themed laps continued throughout the night and into the morning Saturday before the closing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Cancer survivors were pinned during a special reception and luminaries were lit Friday night.
Fullenkamp said the Miss Relay drag contest drew a huge crowd, but also popular were Saturday morning activities for children and the basket auction Friday night, which raised approximately $2,540 — double what it brought in the year before. Local law enforcement officers took turns in the dunk tank.
Allowing those who purchased luminaries to design them however they wanted in memory or honor of loved ones also was popular among attendees, who took their time walking laps and looking at the bags along the path.
“It made them individual and special,” Fullenkamp said. “A lot of time and heart went into them.”
Approximately 14 teams participated in and raised money for the local Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society. In total, they raised approximately $36,600 by the end of Relay, but had until the end of August to meet their $43,000 goal.
“We had a lot of fun,” Fullenkamp said, noting good weather also was a plus for the big weekend.
She said new teams brought with them new activities and ways to raise money.
Jesse Purcell, a new partner with the American Cancer Society, helped the event run smoothly and offered encouragement along the way.
The Moms (Making our Mark Shine) team, was able to raise $13,400 through efforts throughout the year, including yard flag sales, a golf outing, garage sale, Party in the Parkway, working the Wapakoneta Recycle Center, and by selling food and auctioning baskets during the event.
“We’ve been around Relay a long time,” Gary Webb said of his team of 20.
He and his wife, Tina, began relaying for their mothers and plan to continue to do something with Relay until a cure is found, he said.
“I’ve made that commitment to myself,” Webb said.
Fullenkamp said starting with local businesses joining together in February to “Paint the Town Purple,” this year’s Relay really was able to pull together with high spirits.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about Relay,” Webb said.
Fullenkamp credited her committee, including Webb, Janice Eves, Laura Kelley, Kim Klingler, Dave Masonbrink, Kathy Schneider and Kassandra Shappell as being the most passionate people in Wapakoneta.
“They eat, sleep, breath and dream of a day where a cure is found,” Fullenkamp said. “This was a year of rebuilding our event and it’s obvious that we are stronger than ever.”