Everyone welcome at Relay for Life

Published 3:42 pm Friday, August 5, 2011

When talking about the Mower County Relay for Life, event chair Linda Baier is quick to point out the American Cancer Society fundraiser isn’t just for cancer survivors — it’s for everyone.

“People think you have to be a participant to come down, but you don’t,” she said. “It’s open to the public and we hope everyone will come down and experience this awesome community event.

Baier said almost everyone is affected by cancer in some way.

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“I think most people know someone who has cancer, whether a friend, family member or co-worker,” Baier said. “What we’re doing is not only raising money for cancer research, but we’re honoring the people who are fighting cancer and remembering those who didn’t make it. It’s a good community event.”

The Relay, which begins at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6 at Bandshell Park, is open to the public and includes entertainment for all ages. There are games, food, live music, a water slide for children, and live and silent auctions.

The water slide — which is $5 per child for unlimited slides — was a major attraction last year, Baier said, and she hopes that will be true Saturday.

Baier said it looks like this year’s fundraising total will be down from 2010, when the local event raised $98,475. Baier said they are down a few teams from last year, but teams can still register by calling 507-440-1024 or on site the day of the event.

“I’m hoping that I will be surprised (and the total will be higher),” she said. “We’re hoping for a big crowd to come down.”

Live musical entertainment includes Adam Wayne Wollenburg, an Austin High School graduate who recently moved back to Austin after living in Nashville, Tenn., where he had a country music contract. Also featured are Second Edition, an all-women a capella group, and Teiler Miller, a 17-year-old Austin High School student who was chosen to audition for NBC’s “The Voice.”

While entertainment will attract many, Baier said it’s also a time for healing.

“Cancer is not easy on the person (who has it), but it’s also hard on the caretakers and family,” she said. “We’re doing all we can to help find the cures .”

An opening ceremony starts at 6 p.m. with a survivors’ lap followed by a balloon release. Baier encourages anyone dealing with cancer to come.

“I think it’s a sense of togetherness, healing,” she said. “There’s people down there who have gone through the same thing (everyone with cancer) has gone through, and I think it’s just a great experience and a lot of new friendships are formed.”

A luminary is scheduled at dusk, something she said many enjoy.

“When we light the luminaries at night,” she said. “It pretty much leaves everybody speechless.”

Mower County Relay for Life

When — 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6

Where — Bandshell Park

Who — Everyone. Mower County Relay for Life chair Linda Baier said the public is invited to support the annual American Cancer Society Fundraiser. She said they are still looking for more relay teams, as the number of teams and fundraising total appear to be lower than last year’s tally.

Call 507-440-1024 to sign up or for more information.

Relay for Life schedule of events

Main events
– 3 p.m. — Silent auction
– 4-6 p.m. — Live auction
–  6 p.m. — Opening ceremony
– Dusk — Luminary
– All day — Entertainment and speakers
– All day — A water slide down Skinner’s Hill. Bracelets are $5 for unlimited slides.

Stage schedule
– 3-3:15 p.m. — Relay update
– 3:15-4:15 p.m. — Entertainment by Teiler Miller
– 4:15-4:45 p.m.  — Break
– 4:45-5 p.m. — Fight Back Ceremony
– 5-6 p.m. — Entertainment by Second Edition
– 7-7:30 p.m. — TBA
– 8 p.m.-dusk — Entertainment by Adam Wayne Wollenburg

Auction items include: Mall of America fun passes; Chanhassen Dinner Theatre tickets; dinner for six cooked in your home by Chef Elizabeth from Hy-Vee, wine included, $600 value; one dozen brownies a month for one year from Sterling Cafe; a website package valued at $1,000 from Studio Ten Design; Relay for Life round hole/square bag game made by Jerry Wilkinson; golf packages; lamps from Brick Furniture; various gift certificates; and much more.