Relay For Life officials met with local downtown merchants Monday to discuss upcoming plans for Lincolnton’s 20th Anniversary Relay For Life.
The annual celebration serves as both a fundraising event for The American Cancer Society and cancer research as well as an awareness program, honoring those who have lost their fight with the illness as well as the individuals who have witnessed recoveries. The event is scheduled overnight to enforce the fact that “cancer never sleeps.”
This year, the event has a new location, wrapping around the Court Square and continuing along the first two blocks of East Main St. Because of this, officials scheduled the meeting to discuss ways the merchants could participate in the overnight relay event, from staying open late and donating a portion of their sales to assisting in the special edition t-shirt and luminaries sale.
“The sidewalks are for merchants, and the streets are for the event,” Relay for Life official Cheryl Burgess explained.
Downtown merchants present at the meeting included Court Street Grille, Freedom Church, Southern Charm Winery, Color Me Pretty, First Methodist Church and King’s Office Supply.
This year, the city’s Relay for Life theme is “Paint the Town Purple.” Officials are asking businesses to decorate their storefronts and sidewalks in purple, the official color for The American Cancer society. During the presentation, Burgess hinted that a competition could be held for the best interpretation of the theme.
As of Monday night, officials have scheduled nine roadblocks to be set up downtown the day of the event to allow the festivities to go undisturbed. Teams have been asked to arrive at 5 p.m. to set up their tents and booths. Volunteers will also set up during that time.
The roadblocks will be located at the intersections of East Water Street and South Government Street, West Main St. and North Government Street, North Aspen Street and West Pine Street, East Sycamore Street and North Academy Street, South Academy Street and East Water Street and South Aspen Street and West Church Street.
Burgess said the event will officially kick off at 6 p.m. on May 2, and will end at 7 a.m. with the closing ceremonies. So far, 43 teams have registered to participate in fundraising. Some of the event’s festivities include various food stands, craft booths, a corn hole tournament, live music and a kids’ games zone.
Lincolnton Relay for Life official John Dancoff encouraged business to stay open to during the event. “We want businesses to be open if they’d like to,” he said.
“Our biggest goal is for this to be a positive experience for downtown businesses,” Burgess said.
This year, Relay for Life officials hope to sell 2,014 luminaries to line along the Court Square. Unlike traditional luminaries, which are filled with sand, Dancoff said that the luminaries will be weighted down with donated canned goods. The candle will then perch on top of the canned good. After this year’s Relay for Life concludes, the canned goods will then be donated to Christian Ministries. Tiki torches are also available to purchase in honor or in memory of a person who has had cancer for $100. Donors will also be able to decorate a sign as well.
The group’s fundraising goal for 2014 is $200,000 — the largest fundraising goal in chapter history. Over the past two decades, both of Lincoln County’s Relay for Life chapters, including the East Lincoln Relay for Life, has raised a combined total of more than $2 million.
Those interested in learning more about Relay for Life Lincolnton should visit www.relayforlife.org/lincolnton or the group’s Facebook page, “Relay for Life of Lincolnton.”