The Auglaize County Relay for Life, which raises money for the fight against cancer, is quickly approaching.
The theme for this year’s event will be “Happy Birthday: A Celebration of Life, Come Celebrate Your Birthday With Us.” The event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Friday with an opening ceremony, followed by a Survivor’s Lap and Survivor’s Dinner. The event is slated to end at noon on Saturday, concluding with closing ceremonies.
“We all have our own reason why we relay,” spokeswoman Tiffany Fullenkamp said. “For me, it’s for my brother.”
Fullenkamp’s brother is Jason Strauser, and he recently passed away after his battle with cancer at the age of 17.
During this event, teams will be continuously walking during the 18-hour event, to raise money to fight cancer and to remember loved one who have passed away and for survivors.
Prior to the event, each of the 13 teams has been raising money for the event. Fullenkamp said each team has a goal, and they range from raising $1,000 to $5,000 per team.
Fundraisers that different teams have put on include a prom dress exchange, a quarter auction, a golf outing, basket bingo, chicken dinners and garage sales.
Fullenkamp said there are many fun activities that will be held during the event this weekend.
“We will be having a dunk tank, with local celebrities,” Fullenkamp said.
Local principals, police officers, the Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon and a high school teacher will be the featured celebrities who will be sitting up on the dunk tank.
Also, there will be a dessert wheel, face painting, a fish pond, cornhole, karaoke and food.
Great Clips has offered their services for the event, as they will be cutting hair by donations. They hope to find participants who will donate their hair to Locks of Love, who provide hairpieces to people who are undergoing treatment for cancer.
Each team who is registered to walk will be preparing and donating food for the relay, including cheeseburgers, walking tacos and corn on the cob cooked on the grill. Donations will be accepted for the food.
Also, chicken dinners will be available for purchase from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, to kick off the event. Tickets are available by calling Tiffany Fullenkamp at 419-738-3303, and walk-ins are welcome. The cost for the Sweet Caroline’s chicken dinner will be $7. They will be sold by the main entrance on Auglaize Street.
The parking for the Relay for Life event will be available by entering via Dearbaugh.
Each of the teams registered for the event will have their own tent set up at the fairgrounds. Massage therapist Andy Carter will be giving massages at a team’s tent, and donations will be accepted.
Carter has been donating his time and services at the relay for the past 10 years. Other teams may be selling t-shirts or hosting other activities at their tent to raise money.
In addition, each team has focused on a specific type of cancer, in which they will give an informational presentation on during the relay. Each team will present throughout the evening.
Team Captain Gary Webb and his team have decided to put a different twist on their presentation and turn it into a skit on skin cancer, where they will give facts and information on the this type of cancer.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday a Basket Bingo will be taking place. Themed baskets to be auctioned off include a pet, Avon, movie and pampering baskets.
This is the second year holding the event at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds, and Fullenkamp said she likes it at this location.
“The nice thing about it is that the vendors are close to the walkers,” Fullenkamp said. “Everything is together.”
Another difference of the event from previous years is that the relay used to be held in May. Now that it is held in June, the weather is typically warmer and the Luminaria ceremony is held later, because it stays lighter longer.
In this case, the Luminaria ceremony will be held around dusk on Friday evening.
“This is a very moving ceremony honoring people who have past away and survivors,” Fullenkamp said.
The event and all entertainment will be stopped for this ceremony, which is a special time during the relay to honor those who have survived and remember those who lost their battle with cancer.
There will be musical entertainment that will be playing throughout the night for the walkers and participants.
Beginning at 8 p.m. the band, Top Shelf, is to take the stage. This cover band is composed of members from Minster and are donating their time and services for the relay.
They will play until midnight, and then DJ WildMan will take the stage to play music for the participants until 4 a.m.
From midnight to 6 a.m., each hour will include a themed lap. A few of the themes that will be represented are American spirit, pajama party and Mardi Gras.
The closing ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to conclude the event.
“We will be there rain or shine,” Fullenkamp said.