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Miss-Lou Relay for Life set for tonight

NATCHEZ — Cancer certainly makes its mark on the Miss-Lou, but tonight survivors will make a mark of their own — literally and figuratively.

A new addition to the ever-growing Miss-Lou Relay for Life this year is a survivors’ handprint banner. Attending survivors will be encouraged to dip their hands in washable purple paint and leave a print behind.

The visible sign of survival joins the memorial wall of names as an accounting of just how wide-reaching cancer is in the community.

The Miss-Lou Relay typically draws 320 survivors, Relay Chairman Bridgid Martin said, the highest number in either state.

Survivors will also kick off the night with the opening lap around the track on the Vidalia Riverfront at 6:45 p.m.

Other new events this year include a silent auction at the site, which will start at 6 p.m. and end at 10 p.m., and bouts of line dancing throughout the night.

Tents manned by 45 teams will line the track, selling food, drinks and goodies. Proceeds from all sales will go to the American Cancer Society.

Area teams turned in approximately $143,000 Tuesday at bank night, but the goal is to surpass $200,000, Martin said.

Last year’s total of $249,921 put the Miss-Lou Relay as No. 2 in the nation per capita.

“Compared to other towns, the community here, they just go out and support family, friends and anyone who has cancer,” Martin said. “This town just comes through.”

The opening prayer will be at 6:30 p.m., however many survivors will be on site earlier for a survivor’s reception.

The team laps will be at 7:40 p.m.

A luminary service will quiet things down at 9:05 p.m., but the party begins again with the superhero/villain lap at 9:45 p.m.

Special laps, line dancing and games will continue until 6 a.m. After an awards ceremony, the all-night event will end at 7 a.m.

The National Weather service predicts a 20 percent chance of showers after dark, with temperatures dropping from 90 to the mid 60s during the course of the event.

Relay will go on as planned regardless of rain, but lightning in the area will cancel the event, organizers say.

The track is located south of the Mississippi River bridge, near Promise Hospital in Vidalia.

For a full schedule of events and map of the Relay site see the special Relay for Life section in today’s newspaper.

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