The Ries Brothers pose with members of the Pinellas Park High School band at the 2013 Relay for Life event in England Brothers Park. This 2014 event on Saturday, April 12 will feature steel drum bands and a tropical theme.
PINELLAS PARK – The annual Relay for Life event is set for Saturday, April 12, 2 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning, at England Brothers Park, 5010 81st Ave.
This annual overnight fundraising walk, which is held in communities nationwide throughout the spring, is organized by the American Cancer Society to support cancer research, raise money for the cause and to remember those who have died from the disease. Teams will camp out by the track and take turns walking throughout the event.
This year’s theme in Pinellas Park is “Marga-Relay-Ville,” said Christina Behr a specialist for several Relay for Life events in central Pinellas County.
“So we’ve got a real tropical vibe going on this year,” she said. “We’ll have different Jimmy Buffett kind of things, castaway island.”
There also will be two steel drum bands performing throughout the event, and a reggae dance competition.
“There will be lots of live music this year,” Behr said. “It’s just nice to have entertainment.”
Another highlight at this family-friendly event is the survivor reception at 3:30 p.m. Local cancer survivors are invited to come down to the free reception. Registration ahead of time is required, Behr said.
At 9 p.m., the luminaria ceremony will take place. For a donation, Relay for Life participants can light a luminaria bag, which are set around the track, to remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those battling the disease. Each luminaria is dedicated to a specific person, and personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful ceremony,” Behr said.
There also will be chance drawings, food, games and other activities throughout the night. All ages are welcome, Behr said, and usually draws a number of teams from local schools.
Normally about 200 people turn out for the event. So far, this year, 23 teams and 103 participants have raised over $5,000 for cancer research.
“The money raised is used by the American Cancer Society to provide lifesaving research and services right here in Pinellas County,” Behr said.
It’s not too late to join, she added. In fact, teams can sign up throughout the day of the event.