By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
GARDENDALE — One of north Jefferson County’s largest fundraisers is next week.
Organizers have been working for months on the North Jefferson Relay For Life, which is May 18, noon to midnight, at the Gardendale Civic Center.
The event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in its goal to raise funds for cancer research and ultimately, for a cancer cure.
The local event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Relay For Life in its history.
So far this year, the North Jefferson Relay has raised more than $26,000 and has had 35 teams sign up.
“We have many new teams involved this year, and with that comes lots of renewed energy, excitement and determination to create a world with more birthdays and less cancer,” said Jenn Booth, event chair.
The theme for this year’s North Jefferson Relay is a birthday party, in honor of the American Cancer Society’s 100th birthday.
The event itself will be much like a big birthday party, with activities including a full “kid zone” with pony rides, batting cages, fishing pond, a clown, story time, inflatables and art station.
There will also be a wing eating contest, auction, sports challenges and a dunking booth.
In addition, each team will have its own fundraiser, many of which include games or food for sale.
Entertainment is also a big part of the event.
The “fight back” entertainment is the well-known Franklin Road band of Birmingham.
Other entertainment includes the Enon Baptist Church choir, Encore Dance, Back in Time, 3V2G, Love Fellowship Christian steppers, the Gardendale High School Rockettes and Color Guard, Dale Serrano Advanced Performance Team, Dancers Fighting Cancer, the Blended Hearts, DJ 350 and more.
“I’m very excited about this year’s Relay and I think that with all the entertainment and activities we have lined up and with the planning that has gone into the event, it will be one of the biggest and best Relay For Life events the north Jefferson area has seen in several years,” said Booth.
A popular aspect of Relay For Life is the luminaria ceremony, where luminaries line the walking trail and honor cancer survivors as well as those who have died of cancer.
There is also a special ceremony to honor cancer survivors.
The public is invited to the May 18 event; there is no charge to attend.
To learn more, go to www.relayforlife/northjefferson.