Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friday’s Relay For Life opening to be real drag

May 31, 2007

This year's De Soto Relay For Life will mark its 10th anniversary -- but there won't be a cake.

"There's no cake because I haven't found one to be donated," said De Soto Relay chairwoman Rita Jones. "We try to keep our expenses low so we didn't purchase one."

But there will be men in drag.

The De Soto Relay will feature a new competition called Queen of the Relay during opening ceremonies. Men will dress up as women and will have 30 minutes to collect funds. The contestant with the most funds will win a prize, along with the best and worst dressed contestants. Jones would not say what the prize would be.

"I want it to be a surprise," she said.

Jones said the Queen of the Relay competition had been a hit at other Relays, and she hoped De Soto participants will like it too.

"I am curious to see how many men dress up," she said with a chuckle.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at the De Soto High School Football Stadium. The final lap of the Relay will occur at 6 a.m. Saturday.

About 300 people will participate on 30 teams this year, Jones said.

Their goal is to raise $40,000 and so far, they are about half way to the goal, but Jones said she was not worried.

"We get a lot of teams that don't make it to the two bank nights," she said. "We do take quite a bit in during Relay night."

Last year's goal was $36,000, and it was surpassed by about $1,600. There also will be about 50 more participants this year.

Jones is concerned about the weather. As of Wednesday morning there was a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Two years ago, showers and thunderstorms forced Jones to cancel the event.

"There was so much lightning that night and with the metal bleachers and the puddles of water we couldn't risk having someone get struck by lightning," she said.

Because of that incident she vowed to have a contingency plan in the future. In case of severe weather, Relay participants will move to the De Soto Community Center. If it's just a little rain, the participants will march on.

"We always depend a lot on the churches to pray for good weather for us," Jones said. "We are hoping for the best. Forecasters have been wrong."

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