The Pratt County Relay for Life will be back at Zerger Field for 2013, with the event scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 and conclude 12 hours later.
The longtime venue for the Relay was not available last year, because artificial turf was being laid on the football field. Relay planners are working with USD 382 to protect the turf. Several events are held on artificial turf across the state, according to Christine Brenner, community manager for events for the American Cancer Society. Adjustments are largely a matter of using weights and sandbags instead of tent stakes.
While the football field and dirt track at Skyline School worked fine last year, and parking was easier, many people are glad to have the Relay back in the center of Pratt. It's a community event everyone can enjoy and brings people together for the common purpose of raising money for research to treat and cure cancer.
Fourteen teams have registered and many have been actively raising funds over the summer. The number of teams is down slightly, Brenner said, but teams can still register either online at www.relayforlife.org/prattcous or by calling her at 620-895-6465 or Relay chair Kerri Boldt at 620-770-2125. Luminaries can also be purchased in the same manner.
A few changes have been made, although the basic format is the same. The Legion Riders will bring the flags in at 7 p.m. for an opening ceremony, but the survivors' lap has been delayed until 8. If the weather is warm, temperatures will have abated somewhat as the sun sinks closer to the horizon.
A live auction, with items from small to large donated by various teams, will follow the survivors' lap. An auction was a last-minute addition to the 2012 Relay and worked well, so it is being repeated, Brenner said. Teams may contribute baked goods, baskets or single items.
As always, the luminary ceremony will be at 10 p.m.
"The luminary ceremony is always moving," Brenner said. "Most everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer."
The popular Queen of the Night contest will be held at midnight. There will be activities, games and entertainment throughout the evening.
Survivors and their caregivers will be honored at an ice cream social Aug. 3 at the Pratt Municipal Building. Survivors, if already registered, can pick up their T-shirts at that event.
The American Cancer Society works to conquer cancer through research, education and advocacy.
To date, 44 Nobel Laureate researchers have been funded through the Society, Brenner said.