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Relay For Life gets under way Friday in Erwin

Lights! Camera! Cure!
That’s the theme for the Relay For Life of Unicoi County all-night event, with the action beginning Friday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at the Unicoi County High School track.
“Last year we had a couple of people watching movies on a small DVD player,” said Brenda Penland, the co-chair for the 2010 event. “This year we decided we had to do something with movies.”
Each team taking part in the Relay picked a movie as a theme for its activities and camp sites.
For example, the Mission Possible logistics team will reflect “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and will have chocolates available for participants at the information tent. Other teams will depict films such as “The Blues Brothers,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Talladega Nights” and “Forrest Gump.”
Opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. will be followed immediately by the survivor lap, walked by cancer survivors and their supporters, then the cancer patient caregivers’ lap.
J4, winners of the 2009 CBS “The Early Show” Singing Family Face Off , will kick off the entertainment on the main stage at 8 p.m.
“I think it might draw some extra people,” said Renea Jones-Rogers, co-chair of the Blue Nation Warriors team. “They haven’t done a lot of concerts in the area, so this could hopefully bring out people for the Relay.”
Jones-Rogers’ family became friends with the Smiths, the Bluff City, Tenn. family who formed J4, when they performed for her son’s treatment party last year.
“We asked sometime throughout the year if they’d ever thought of doing a Relay event, and they said they’d love to,” Jones-Rogers said.
The Luminaria Ceremony honoring those who have battled cancer will be after the concert at 10 p.m.
Luminaria bags containing candles for the ceremony can be bought at The Erwin Record prior to the event for $5, or at the Luminaria tent until 9 p.m. on Relay night.
This year, games, activities and entertainment will continue for the entire night after the ceremony.
“We will do more through out the night,” Penland said. “There will be something going on every 15 to 20 minutes.”
Lori Ann Wright, drama teacher at UCHS and activities and entertainment coordinator for the Relay, said the goal is to keep people involved all night instead of just having teams walk the track.
“We tried to plan family-fun activities through the night with music, magic shows and games to get people to get up and moving,” Wright said.
Penland said she gives credit for the number of activities to her team of volunteers.
“I have an awesome committee,” she said. “Everybody is so committed to their part. I wouldn’t have committed to doing this if I didn’t know such great people would be helping.”
Throughout the night, there will be inflatables available for kids, games, contests, musical entertainment, silent auctions, food, movies playing for those who want to sit and relax, and of course, the Relay. The cost of the food and games starts at 50 cents. Teams will be serving drinks, grilled items, desserts, fruit, pizza and more.
Teams have been raising money throughout the past year with activities such as a spaghetti dinner, Jail N’ Bail and Motorcycle Ride. All proceeds, including those for the Luminaria bags, those raised throughout the year and those raised at the Relay, will go to the American Cancer Society. The goal set by Unicoi County for the 2010 event is $92,000.
For more information about Relay For Life, call Penland at 306-8132.