The Relay for Life of Columbia County has a new home.
The 11th annual American Cancer Society relay, formerly known as the Harlem Relay for Life, will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Columbia Road.
Event Chairwoman Lee Ann Meyer said the event outgrew the Harlem Middle School facilities, where the event traditionally was held.
“We had 10 great years in Harlem with lots of support from the city of Harlem,” Meyer said. “We just felt it was better for the relay and for all the participants to move it to the center of the county. We think we’ve probably found a permanent home for it.”
Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m. on the area of the fairgrounds used for the midway during the fall fair.
Meyer said she expects 34 teams to participate. Volunteers have already raised nearly $65,000 of the $110,000 goal.
“We’re one of the most successful (relay) events,” Cancer Society Augusta Chapter Community Manager Rachel Winn said. “That’s because of the very dedicated volunteers. So many of them have been touched by cancer. We have such active survivors at this event.”
The relay includes a volunteer from each team walking all night long and a variety of family-friendly games and activities centered around the event’s theme – Fighting Cancer in Columbia County ... It’s In-Tents.
“I’m hoping to have some real interesting camp sites,” Meyer said.
The evening also features live entertainment from local band Steel Cross and the popular Miss Relay Contest, a beauty pageant for men dressed as women.
The luminaria service will begin at 9:30 p.m. Meyer said the public is invited to attend or volunteer.
“There’s still opportunity for them to participate by them coming out and enjoying the entertainment and enjoying the games,” she said. “It’s much like a street festival with games and food vendors.”
For more, call (706) 731-9900 or visit www.relayforlife.org.