SIKESTON - After weeks of planning, the American Cancer Society in Sikeston is set for this weekend's Scott County Relay for Life.
This year's relay is 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday at the Sikeston Sports Complex recreational pond. Like every year, the goal is to raise money and awareness for cancer and local cancer survivors.
This will mark the 13th year the Relay for Life in Sikeston.
Everyone is invited to attend the relay free of charge, although a donation to the American Cancer Society would be greatly appreciated, said Julie Aycock, income specialist at the ACS in Sikeston.
The ACS has planned a number of activities throughout the night to provide entertainment for those in attendance and raise funds for the cause.
The relay kicks off at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony and the traditional cancer survivor lap.
At 7:30 p.m., 30 actors from the hit Sikeston Little Theater youth production "Pirates of the Penzance" will perform selected scenes from the play.
A silent auction will also be held at this time.
After the play, at 8 p.m., a live auction will take place. Aycock is very optimistic about this event.
"We have a number of baskets stuffed with donated items such as St. Louis Cardinals tickets, hotel packages and gardening supplies," said Aycock. "We hope to get a lot of local citizens out to the relay to participate in the auction."
As the night goes on, the activities get stranger and wilder, said Aycock.
"We have to keep all the people awake," said Aycock. "We tried to plan activities that make you want to stick around just to watch them."
Activities in the first part of the evening include an "American Idol"-style "Relay Star Search," followed by bingo and potato golf.
After midnight, activities will include a frozen T-shirt contest, in which contestants try to thaw a frozen folded shirt and put it on before other contestants; alligator wrestling, where contestants will wrestle with a raft to deflate it in the quickest time; and frozen chicken bowling, which is rather self-explanatory.
Other activities before the closing ceremonies include a dance contest, luau and a hula hoop contest.
A kiddie carnival will be set up from 6-9:30 p.m. for the younger participants.
In accordance to Relay for Life tradition, throughout the night participants will walk the pond's track.
"The walking symbolizes cancer patients' journey through cancer treatment," said Aycock. "No matter how tired they get, they keep going, and so will we."
To further honor cancer survivors, the ACS will host a dinner tonight for cancer survivors and a guest. Approximately 75 survivors will be in attendance.
"This is our first year to do this dinner and it has already gotten overwhelming support," said Aycock. "It is just one more way for us to honor cancer survivors."
The American Cancer Society in Sikeston has set a fund-raising goal of $100,000 for this year's relay. As of Wednesday, Relay for Life teams had already turned in approximately $30,000 to the ACS.
Aycock is pleased with the results so far.
"A number of teams have yet to turn in their money and there will be fund-
raising efforts throughout the relay itself that will contribute to the total," said Aycock. "As of this point, we have raised more money than last year, so we are ahead of the game, but we still have $70,000 to go."