One-day Relay hits trail Aug. 4

Annual event to fight cancer taking place all in one night in 2017
Back on track. Participants in the 2017 Relay for Life will circle the Kennedy Trail adjacent to Barrett Hospital on Friday.

This year’s local Relay for Life will only last about half as long as editions of recent years past of the annual event to raise money and awareness in the fight against cancer.

But its organizers hope the 2017 Relay for Life in Dillon on Friday, Aug. 4, will still manage to do just as well in the fundraising and fun departments.

“Relay will all take place in just over eight hours this year, all in one day, so we are hoping to get a lot of people to stay for more of it or all of it,” said Misti Wahl, co-chair with Lori Roberts of this year’s Relay for Life, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. and end before midnight on and within the Jim Kennedy Walking Trail adjacent to Barrett Hospital in Dillon.

“It’s a wonderful event for our community to celebrate cancer survivors and fight back. And it’s fun for the whole family—a lot of fun,” continued Wahl.

“The theme for this year’s Relay is Country Kickin’ Cancer. We chose that to give it more of a county fair theme and atmosphere.”

The fun, family aspects of this year’s Relay will be evident right from its 3 p.m. start, when two hours of Games for the Young at Heart will kick off along a carnival-style midway of booths manned, womanned and childed by members of Relay for Life teams. Some games will continue into the evening hours.

“Each team is running a different game,” said Wahl, of a recreational smorgasbord that will include Plinko, a basketball shoot, a bean bag toss and a golf putting challenge, as well as face painting and other activities—the fees for which will go to Relay’s fundraising haul.

Nearby, kids who arrive prepared in the clothing department will be able to enjoy water-balloon competitions and a giant slip ‘n’ slide.

The next item on the Relay menu will offer proof of Relay’s compressed time frame—of how it’s gone from an event that stretched all Friday night and well into Saturday morning in year’s past, to a one-night event wrapped up by midnight this year.

Dillon Kiwanis, which used to serve Relay’s Saturday morning breakfast, will instead this year prepare and serve food donated by numerous local businesses and organizations for a 5 p.m. BBQ dinner with a live soundtrack played by the Dillon Junior Fiddlers.

The official opening ceremony will follow at 6 p.m., when the Cub Scouts will present the colors, Todd Hazelbaker will do the invocation, a special speaker will offer thoughts on the fight against cancer, team intros and team laps will take place, and the focus of Relay—cancer survivors—will star in the Face Your Hope ceremony and Survivors Lap.

Survivors can also visit the Survivors Tent to pick up a goody bag and other encouragements for their battle against cancer.

And the giant Wall of Hope and Wall of Cure will be back for people to write messages of encouragement upon.

A silent auction tent will again feature a variety of items to bid on, with people also getting the chance to splash some cash Relay’s way by shopping in the Relay tent, where shirts, sunglasses and umbrellas emblazoned with the Relay for Life logo, along with jewelry, will be sold.

The 8 p.m. hour will unveil a new Relay addition—Smooch-A-Pooch—and an old Relay favorite, the Frozen T-Shirt Contest, in which brave competitors try to thaw out balled-up, frozen-solid shirts to the point where they can be unfurled and put on.

“We couldn’t give up the Frozen T-Shirt Contest,” laughed Wahl on Monday. “That reminds me, I better get the t-shirts into the freezer now. They need to be in there as long as possible to get good and frozen.”

A couple more Relay mainstays will follow, when the Empty Table Ceremony to honor cancer caregivers and people who have succumbed to the disease take place at 9:30 p.m. That will be followed by a reading aloud of the names of people diagnosed with cancer during the ceremony for the lighting of the luminarias, which can be purchased on site or in downtown Dillon in the days leading up to Relay at The Knockabout, 3-D and The Bookstore or 3-D.

The closing ceremony will start at 11 p.m., with trophies handed out to the Relay team that got the most feet on the track, the one with best-decorated booth and the one that raised the most money.

“Relay will all take place in just over eight hours in one night this year, so we are hoping to get a lot of people to stay for most of it or all of it,” said Wahl, noting people could still sign up to walk in this year’s Relay by going to or by calling her at 406-925-9054.

Anyone who wants to still put a full team together for Relay can find out how it’s done by calling Jennifer Westfall at 406-660-1416.