Some people are devout attendees of the East Wake Relay for Life.
They know about the fair-like atmosphere. They relish the unremitting aroma of food on the grill, the games, the music and the sense of community and lasting memories created at each of the annual events.
For those who don’t fall into that category, event organizers have just four words: “Take the Relay challenge.”
“Try it once,” Relay Chair Vickie Curtis dares. “You may fall in love and that’s what we find many people do – they come once and then come year after year once they realize the excitement and meaning behind what we do.”
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The 2104 Relay is set for this Friday and Saturday, May 30-31, at Five County Stadium, located at 1501 N.C. 39 in Zebulon.
Curtis urges eastern Wake County residents who don’t care to participate for their own pleasure to consider what their presence might do for others. She’s talking about the people Relay is truly about, cancer survivors.
“It screams volumes to those survivors when they look around at the people who are there participating who aren’t cancer survivors,” Curtis said. “We’re there to show them support, and if we don’t get off the couch, get in the car and drive over to the stadium, how do they know the community is there to support them?”
There’s a certain spark to this year’s local fight against cancer, one of the American Cancer Society’s innumerable fundraisers for research and family support programs.
The Relay committee and teams have witnessed a heightened sense of enthusiasm and feeling of family throughout the year. It was most evident at the recent Survivor Dinner, which had both attendees and organizers ranting that it was one of the best ever held.
“I can’t wait to see the excitement that’s going to be in the air when we open the gates at 5 p.m. Friday, because everyone is just pumped up and ready to go,” Curtis said. “We’re hoping all the folks from Knightdale Wendell and Zebulon will come out and join us and enjoy the fair-type atmosphere with blow-ups and food and crazy laps and music.”
Luminaries and team camps will outline a makeshift track for the Relay in the field behind the ballpark. The survivor reception will run from 5-6 p.m., a team roll call will take place at 5:30 and the opening ceremony will officially kick things off at 5:50.
Some major events are flagged for 6-7 p.m., including the start of the actual relay around the track, the Survivor Lap. Also slated for that hour are the caregiver lap and kids walk, and an appearance by a U.S. Army JROTC drill team.
Starting at 7 p.m., there will be a teddy bear lap, a mission moment and a shave-a-thon (7:30) before music by the Jim Riche Project (8). The most moving part of Relay, the luminary ceremony, begins about 9 p.m. The ceremony is set to last 45 minutes and feature the Wake & District Public Safety Pipes and Drums.
Crazy laps begin at midnight and fill the schedule through 6 a.m. for Relayers who want to go the distance. Some of this year’s crazy lap themes are frozen T-shirts, eggs and spoons, and jump ropes.
The Relay concludes Saturday with devotions at 7:30 a.m. and closing ceremonies ending by about 9.