Relay gets moving at 7 p.m. Friday
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
Come rain or shine — preferably shine — the 12-hour American Cancer Society Relay For Life fundraising walk will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday with the Hopkins County Military Coalition posting the colors and the ceremonial first lap by cancer survivors on Sulphur Springs Middle School Track.
The event has been months in the making, and participants and organizers won't let a little rain ruin the fun. Only the threat of severe weather will warrant stopping it.
This year, 45 teams have signed up to participate in the Relay, which continues until 7 a.m. Saturday, when the last lap is made.
Relay committee members encourage the community to visit the track throughout the night, but especially for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Relay team members will receive free coffee and drinks from the food court through the night. Those visiting the relay can purchase an arm band at the food tent, which will entitle them to all they can eat from the food court throughout the relay.
Cancer survivors are encouraged to attend the special dinner in their honor which is from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Friday at League Street Church of Christ across from the middle school. Those not participating in the dinner are encouraged to arrive early to pick up their T-shirts at the track.
According to food chairman Cindy Welch, the night will begin with supper around 7 p.m. Jace Anglin and the sheriff's office, Shem Ray and the Kiwanis Club, and Bobby Neal and the Fall Festival Board will provide pots of Hopkins County Stew. Joe Hooten, Mrs. Baird’s and Frito Lay will be providing chili, chips and buns for Frito pie and chili dogs. Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Christian Ice have donated drinks and ice for thirsty participants. And thanks to Northeast Texas Farmers Co-op, the drinks will be iced down for easy access.
Grocery Supply Company provided warmers, and Northeast Texas Janitorial Supply and Sulphur Springs High School Band Boosters gave paper goods and equipment.
At midnight the walkers will be re-energized with sloppy joes from Big Smiths Bar-B-Que and Bodacious Bar-B-Que, as well as nachos and pizza. The Figueroas at Los Mochis and Jeff Trowllinger at Ta Molly’s are donating chips and salsa. Pizza Inn is providing pizzas and a truck to keep them warm.
Breakfast will be provided by Johnny Northcutt at Northcutt Sweet Shoppe, Sophea Lim at Donut Supreme, and Jerry Burton at Burton’s Family Restaurant. Donuts, biscuits and gravy and juices will provided by Ocean Spray. Pete Claypool, owner of the new Seven Seas Coffee Company, will keep everyone going all night with flavored coffees and iced coffee drinks.
The relay will also feature several small events offered by different teams such as a "pinata party" in which one family is providing a couple of pinatas for children to take a whack at, and another pinata for adults. There will also once again be the "man dressed as a woman" contest, a karaoke contest, a silent auction, team campsite fundraisers, games for kids, and more. The will be a variety of singers and music throughout the event, as well.
At about 9 p.m. will be the traditional luminary ceremony in which candles, dedicated to the memory of or in honor of those who have battled cancer, are lit and placed around the middle school track. The photo presentation of cancer survivors and victims will also be shown. The community is encouraged to attend to view their family members photo.
Aguilar and Dial Moffett will be at the middle school track later this afternoon, beginning around 5:30 p.m., along with the workers from O'Reilly's who are donating their time and labor to help set up the tents and get things ready.
"We'd like to give a special thank you to the old high school coaches staff who came out yesterday in the rain and marked the field for tents and stuff," Relay Co-Chair Tony Aguilar said Thursday. "Thanks go to the school, who have had their maintenance crew out in the rain cleaning up, pickup up and getting things ready for us."
Aguilar and Moffett will remain at the track overnight. Those teams who have some items they want to drop off early may do so Thursday night.
Teams can officially begin setting up their campsites at 8 a.m. Friday. While vehicles may be parked on the south side of the track behind the bleacher area, no vehicles will be permitted inside the fences. ATVs and volunteers will be on hand to help bring things in. The only vehicles allowed in for large equipment which can't be carried or put on the ATVs must first have permission from a committee member. However, committee members ask to avoid that, if at all possible.
Teams who plan to have team pictures made need to be at the track, set up and ready at 6 p.m., as photographers will being photo sessions at that time.
"We thank everyone for their support. We encourage the community to come out and be part of the relay, to come and look at all of the stuff and see the campsites," Aguilar said.