Plans are underway for the 2019 Relay For Life event to be held at the World Championship Derby Complex Expo Center Saturday, May 18, from 3 to 7 p.m.

This year’s theme will be “Be the Light.” Honorees will be cancer survivor Kris Secord and caregiver Don Secord.

New this year, the event will offer a full bar at the Relay. Track owners will supply the alcohol along with licensed bartenders to serve it as part of their sponsorship. Bartenders will serve drinks both upstairs at the main bar as well as downstairs in the Expo Hall.

Organizer Joy Turpin said she hopes the addition of a bar will enhance the event and boost attendance.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion will be on hand with their traditional food concessions, but are currently seeking volunteers to man the booth.

In addition to the VFW, Team UCC will again host its potato bar with snacks, and Team SOAR will offer its dessert contest. Another food vendor is also being sought.

Anyone interested in volunteering or providing concessions can contact Turpin at (715) 479-6560 or joyfaithchapinturpin@gmail.com.

In addition to food and drink, an Artisan Market will be held on the grounds of the Derby Complex. Relay is currently looking for vendors to take part in the market.

A $25 fee to rent a 10- by 10-foot workspace will be collected, with all sales profits going to vendors. For more information or to register for a space, contact Kitty Sookochoff at (715) 617-2974 or kitty.sookochoff@gmail.com.

In addition, the VFW is sponsoring a bounce house for children, and two emcees, Steve Silber and Bill Weber, will be on hand to announce.

The silent auction, which has been a major fundraiser for recent Relays, will again be held. Auction items are now being accepted and anyone who has items to donate can contact Turpin. 

An opening prayer will be offered by the Rev. Peter Kufahl of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Eagle River, and Faith Webb will perform the national anthem.

Welcomers and informational helpers will include 2019 Snowmobile Derby royalty, queen Nicole Popp and princesses Rachel Beyersdorf, Jenna Kukanich, and Pazia Peterson, along with Miss Sno-Eagle, Chey­anne Warren.

According to Turpin, the move to the Derby Complex has offered some positive upgrades to the event such as the use of the indoor arena which is not weather-dependent, an excellent speaker system, and the ability to control the lighting so the Luminaria Ceremony can be held at an earlier time.

“Russ Davis and the new owners of the Derby Complex have been amazing to work with,” said Turpin. “They are generous beyond measure, not only in their major sponsorship of our event but as a support system in the sharing of ideas and suggestions.”

With the theme being “Be the Light,” a glow stick light show also will be part of this year’s program.

“During the Luminaria Ceremony participants will walk through an indoor ‘pathway of luminaria’ as those names of loved ones and messages from loved ones written on each lighted bag are read aloud,” added Turpin. 

More information will be announced for the pledge campaign of the “Trek the Track” survivor/caregiver walk portion of the program.

“We welcome everyone who has in any way been stricken by the devastation of cancer,” Turpin said. “We celebrate survivorship! We celebrate the caregivers! We celebrate the teams and individuals who help with fundraising critical to the patient advocacy programs of the American Cancer Society and its paramount, groundbreaking research. 

“We bolster those currently in the throes of cancer. We honor and remember those who have touched our lives, but because of this disease, have left this earthly world. Come, plan to have dinner with us and share in our celebration.” 

Relay For Life of the Northwoods set its 2019 fundraising goal at $42,000. To date, they have raised $11,562 of that goal, with a recent boost from the Silver Level $1,000 scholarship from Marshfield Clinic.

Other upcoming events in the works include the annual Relay For Life Cheese Sale and the 2019 Don Gillum Memorial Bike/Hike Saturday, July 20, starting in the Conover park. This is an event that encourages families to enjoy the North Woods, while supporting the missions of the Great Headwaters Trails and the American Cancer Society. A geocache and treasure hunt will be featured.

For more information on these events, visit relayforlife.org/northwoodswi.