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Relay raises $148 K

NATCHEZ — The Miss-Lou Relay for Life event starts Friday evening, and even with the date pushed back and the location changed, all signs are pointing to another successful year.

Tuesday’s bank night brought the Relay total for 2011 just short of $148,000, $4,000 ahead of the 2010 bank night right before the event, Relay accounting chair Janis Holder said.

“Our goal every year is to do just as good as we did before,” she said. “And we are very, very pleased with where we are now. This community never ceases to amaze me.”

After event night last year, approximately $210,000 had been raised, and Holder said the conditions are looking good for Friday and Saturday’s festivities.

“We are hoping everything is going to be perfect,” she said. “The weather is supposed to be good, and you can’t ask for a better view than standing on the bluffs in Natchez. We are well on track to top last year.”

The event was originally scheduled for May 6 at the Vidalia Riverfront, but was pushed back and later moved to the Natchez bluff due to the record-breaking water levels on the Mississippi River.

Relay for Life Chair Brigid Martin said the move to the bluff means Relay will be working with a smaller venue, but that has not affected the event planning.

“We had to downsize all the team sites, but all the teams have been very accommodating,” she said. “Everything has been coming together.”

Martin said registration for Relay will begin at 4:30 p.m., with the welcome starting at 6 p.m.

The first lap of the evening will be a 70s theme starting at 7:30 p.m., and Martin said the track on the bluff will be the loop around the gazebo that encompasses the sidewalk from Roth Hill to Silver Street.

There will be a luminary service at 9 p.m., with the second theme lap starting at 10 p.m.

The third lap will feature a “Happy Holiday” theme and begin at 11 p.m., with the final lap, featuring a “Purple PJ’s” theme starting at midnight.

After the final theme lap, the team activities and games will begin. The games will include a frozen T-shirt contest, toilet paper relay, don’t break the chain and monkey toes.

Throughout the festivities, Martin said teams will be selling food items, and there will be plenty of activities for everyone.

“We even have a slide and dunking booth for the kids,” she said.

The closing ceremonies are set for 6 a.m. Saturday, and Martin said she hopes to see the community come out to support the cause.

“Come for the fun, and come for the survivors,” she said.

Holder said Relay could not have happened without the City of Natchez stepping up to host the event, and that the 2011 Miss-Lou Relay for Life will be one to remember.