The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

Relay takes on carnival theme


A carnival has seldom been this important. But carnivals aren't typically called hope.

This weekend Goldendale will host its annual Relay for Life, with this year's theme called "Carnival of Hope." As before, it's at the Goldendale High School track, beginning Saturday, Sept. 12, at 5 p.m. and ending Sunday, Sept. 13, at 8 a.m.

"Every hour there's a different individual carnival theme," says one of the event's organizers, Linda Quinn. "People can wear costumes to go with the theme. Or if they don't want to, they don't have to."

The cause is fighting cancer, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Before it even happens, the event is off to a great fundraising start: it's raised $11,600. It's likely this weekend will see a lot more added to that figure.

The opening hour, to which the public is invited, will be dramatic and uplifting, with cancer survivors walking the track. Then come the teams onto the track. There are 11 teams, ranging from four to 34 people on a team. In total, 199 people are signed up to participate in this year's Relay, about 50 fewer than last year, although fundraising is ahead of last year's at this point.

"People often tend to wait till the last minute to sign up," Quinn recalls. "It's still OK to sign up."

After the opening ceremonies, teams will huddle up, and individuals will take to the track. "The whole point really is that each team has a person walking the tracks the whole entire time," Quin points out. "So there are lots of people walking the track in the middle of the night." It's a kind of an all-night vigil taking a stand against a scourge of modern society.

Activities indigenous to a carnival theme will be going on all through the night. "We have volleyball, soccer, limbo, there's an obstacle course, there's a giant bubble wand, a giant Jenga, and a dice game so those things will be setup for people to just go play whenever they want," Quinn says.

A giant what?

"Jenga," Quinn has to repeat, spelling it. "It's made up of 2X4s, and it's long, and there are three in a row, and you stack them up to make 24 rows tall, and then you take turns pulling the board out and stack it on top without making it fall over."

Oh, that Jenga.

"And there's a flamingo ring toss, a water gun shooting gallery, bucket ball, and a giant bubble wand. There's something for everyone. People can play whenever they want. Each hour there is something else to do. At one point we're going to have prizes and some people will win whatever we have. I know there will be some pizza involved. There's dancing, there's karaoke. Every single hour something different."

So if one is contemplating attending, they'll wonder if they need to bring anything, like, oh, say, food. And water.

"Inside of the track there's a tent set up, one for each team, and some of the teams will be selling something, food of some sort. Or our team sells little bead necklaces, and so you but the necklace and then every time you go around the track you stop and get a bead so at the end of the night you can see how many miles you walked," Quinn says. "People think that's just wonderful." And the Red Cross will be there with water at the ready.

"At 10 p.m. is the luminary ceremony," Quinn adds. "That's using luminary bags, candles inside paper bags that line the track and made in the memory of someone who has passed from cancer or in honor of someone who has cancer or it can be like thank you to a care giver or hostess or something like that. At the ceremony all the names are read, and the candles are lit, and it's in the dark; we turn the lights out."

Teams have been fundraising leading up to the event, and teams will also be raising funds during the event by selling food and hand warmers and other items. "Or you can make a luminary bag or just donate to the event," Quinn observes.

The closing ceremony is Sunday 8 a.m. "At that time we will tell everybody how much money we've raised," Quinn says. "I think last year we got like $6,000 overnight."

Participants like to say they get as much out of it as they give.


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