MUSCATINE, Iowa–After hosting a purely virtual Relay for Life in 2020, organizers look forward to bringing back some of its most beloved in person elements Sept. 23. To celebrate this year’s return to in person events, Relay for Life will take place alongside Almost Friday Fest, helping more people than ever before learn about this unique way to honor those with cancer and support the work of the American Cancer Society right here in eastern Iowa.
As in years past, Relay for Life will begin with the Survivors Dinner, hosted at the Red Brick Building (Pearl City Station). Afterwards, the Relay for Life opening ceremonies will take place and survivors and their caregivers will briefly walk down the riverfront. Afterwards, participants can set up their campsites for the night and prepare for the luminaria ceremony, one of the event’s most beautiful traditions. “Relay for Life’s luminaria event will begin at dusk, with luminaries placed along the trail,” explained organizer Ed Chamberlin. “The Luminaria ceremony is a way to celebrate, remember, and honor those who have battled cancer; it is an emotional and moving experience.”
For the first time ever, Relay for Life will also join forces with Almost Friday Fest. In addition to enjoying all of the events Relay typically includes, participants will also get to join in the Almost Friday Fest festivities, including live music performed by the Dweebs, bounce houses, and lawn games. “With Almost Friday becoming a signature event in Muscatine, the opportunity of teaming with them is a big plus for us,” said Chamberlin. “Joining with Almost Friday gives us a chance to introduce Relay for Life to a different group of participants.”
Following a year when COVID-19 dominated health news, Chamberlin sees Relay for Life as a way to remind people that cancer continues to affect the lives of many people worldwide and to highlight that the American Cancer Society continues to support local people in many ways. “Last year was a tough year for everyone, and while things came to a standstill, cancer did not take a break,” asserted Chamberlin. “By bringing the event back, it lets the community know that the American Cancer Society is here to help, and it is uplifting to have a chance to see Relay friends and supporters.”
If you would like to participate in this year’s Relay for Life, Chamberlin suggests you visit the Relay for Life website and register yourself and a team of friends or family members to fundraise. Alternately, if you would like to learn more about Relay before taking the plunge, he welcomes you to stop out to the September Almost Friday Fest to see what Relay does for yourself. “We encourage the public to come to the Almost Friday Fest, learn more about Relay for Life, and show support by making a donation.”
For those who would prefer to participate in Relay for Life virtually, organizers plan to incorporate some online components as well. They plan to announce specifics closer to Sept. 23.