On Friday, June 2, locals can lace up their sneakers as Southington’s Relay for Life kicks off at the Southington High School varsity track. The culmination of the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society starts at 4 p.m. on Friday and continues until 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
So far, 57 teams are signed up to participate in the all-night event, and registration is open until May 31 for anyone still interested. There is no registration fee for the event, and anyone is welcome to participate as an individual or as part of a team.
Teams can set up their stations from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 2 and again at 2:30 p.m. Drop-off will be at the top of the lacrosse field.
The annual relay has faced a lot of changes in structure and tent placement since the turf field was installed at SHS, but relay publicity chair Ashley Aleksinas said that everything has returned to normal.
After being relegated to a practice field for a few years, tents returned to the track last year. When tents couldn’t be pitched on the field, the event lost many participants. After last year’s success, the field will once again feature campers and walkers, and that has officials excited.
“We’re really excited to start being able to get things back to where the Relay used to be,” Aleksinas said. “Home Depot donates wood to go under each leg of the tent and we use buckets of sand to hold the tents down instead of staking them.”
Any chairs that go on the field must have rounded bottoms, like a beach chair, because regular camping chairs dig into the ground.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 5:45 p.m. at the stage located on the SHS track, followed by a traditional survivor and caregiver walk at 7 p.m. and a complimentary dinner.
The Whale 102.9 radio station will provide music during Friday night’s activities. Additionally, local reality TV program, “The Chat It Up Show,” will host a live show.
Individuals can purchase torches in honor or in memory of someone they’ve lost to cancer, and the names will be read during the torch lighting ceremony at 8:30 p.m. A luminaria ceremony will also take place on Friday night where candles will be lit in honor and memory of those who have battled cancer.
Saturday morning will kick off with a pancake breakfast and fitness insanity workouts to get everyone up and going. During Relay for Life, members of each team rotate to walk continuously along the track, so everyone needs to stay awake.
“We will have plenty of activities throughout the day including many theme laps, parade of schools, games, face painting and balloons,” Aleksinas said. “We also have a beautiful fight back ceremony planned with the release of butterflies.”
Regular parking for the event is in front of the high school and participants must enter at registration next to the vocational agriculture building.
All funds raised from Relay for Life are used by the American Cancer Society to finance research, provide free information and services for individuals with cancer, and to support prevention and education programs.
For more information or to register for the event, visit www.relayforlife.org/southingtonct.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.