Organizers of Sampson’s Relay for Life have had make some changes this year, going from what has been a two-day event in the past to now only one evening.
But the hope is that the always popular and highly supported event will bring in the same draw or more despite the change.
This year the event will be held on May 30 only, and will not spill over into Saturday as it has in previous years. The event will wrap up by midnight on May 30, as well, all to ensure that teachers and students who take part in the Relay can do that and still make it to school the following morning.
Snows earlier this year forced a makeup day on Saturday, May 31, leaving Relay organizers to scramble to rearrange event plans.
“We had to change it because Sampson County Schools is having a make-up day on that Saturday,” said Sherry Massey who is chairwoman of the Sampson County Relay for Life this year.
“Changing the date made it easier to come out and enjoy,” Massey explained of rolling all the events into a single day. “Traditionally it has been a 24-hour event.”
After all the snow days and missed school students are having to go to Saturday school, and unfortunately it would impact the ability of parents and students to be at the event if it went all through the day on Saturday, Massey stressed.
“We will have a few changes in programming,” she said Tuesday. “Survivors will be able to get registered at 6 p.m. and get their hand prints done if they don’t come to the Survivor Dinner,” on May 10.
“During that dinner we will be passing out parking passes for survivors,” said Massey. “Survivors will be able to park in the new survivor parking area. Without the pass they cannot park there.” Massey said that this is the first time that they will have designated parking for the survivors.
“If survivors don’t get their pass at the dinner, they can call me,” Massey detailed. Waiting until the night of the event to get a pass is not recommended as there may not be any parking left for survivors in that area. The designated area will be on the field house side of the Clinton High School stadium and closer to the survivors tent, she said.
“The Relay will kick off as usual at 7 p.m.,” Massey explained. Luminaries will be at 9:45 p.m., with the deadline for luminaries to be purchased on Tuesday, May 6.
“We will be closing the event around 11:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.,” she said of the May 30 event. “Gates will be closing by midnight.” The kids walk will also be moved up, and it will be from 6-9 p.m. on Friday instead of Saturday.
Massey added that this is the 19th year Sampson County has had a Relay for Life, and that even with the shortened event the funds are still being raised.
“We have 25 teams, which is about the same as last year,” said Massey. “Teams can still sign up if they want to join. I’ve already heard about some really good fundraisers going through the community.”
Relay for Life will be held at Clinton High School at the Dark Horse Stadium. Because this is a cancer event, and it is on the school’s campus, Massey mentioned that there is no smoking, alcohol, or weapons allowed.
“There are also no pets or bicycles either,” Massey added. Parents also need to make sure that they keep track of their children and remember that they will be leaving and closing up promptly at midnight that night.
This year is the ninth year that Massey has been the chair for Relay for Life in Sampson. To contact her please call her cell phone at 910-385-5160.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd