I should be asleep. I didn’t get any sleep last night nor did I get a nap today. I’ve been charging batteries, clearing camera cards, preparing signs, and trying to gear myself up for a very long night tomorrow. It will start shortly after 4 p.m. for setting up the audio/video equipment and end sometime after 92 contestants of varying ages take the stage of the dear old Ritz once the curtain goes up at 6 p.m.
The Miss Relay Pageant is a fundraiser for our county’s annual Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society, an event for which I served as publicity chair for a number of years. We do love our beauty queens here in the South, as witnessed by the number of contestants.
Teams are busy this time of year holding bake sales and car washes and raffles and cook-offs and various other ways to raise monies for the event, with the actual Relay always set for a Friday night in mid-May at our local YMCA football field. It’s a night filled with live entertainment, competitions, food and lots of fun for all ages, a night to “Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back.”
Those who have fought the battle and survived are celebrated with a victory march around a track created on the field, throngs of people applauding and cheering them on.
Those who have lost their cancer fight are remembered in a special Luminaria ceremony during which the stadium lights are extinguished. The ceremony is lit by the flickering lights of hundred of candles as loved ones’ names are read aloud, their photos appearing on the giant screens. It is a part of the event that never fails to move me. I lost my dear grandmother to cancer; my mother-in-law lost an eye to the disease but lived many years afterwards cancer-free. My brother-in-law and both of his daughters are all cancer survivors.
I missed last year’s event, but I hope to attend this year’s. A portion of each DVD sale we make tomorrow night will go to the Relay. We hope it shall be a win-win situation . . .
Here are a few photos from the 2011 event, which, as you might guess from the young rodeo riders who led the opening ceremony, had a Western theme: