This year's Relay for Life walk will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday lasting until midnight at the Stadium of Champions and will feature a focus on the decades, providing something for everyone. There will also be some changes made to the previous year's schedule.

This year the event will begin with a welcoming ceremony rather than the usual opening ceremony and will do the survivor's recognition lap 30 minutes earlier than usual.

"Hopefully, it will give everyone a chance to do their lap or have someone do their lap for them a little bit earlier, where they can sit and enjoy more programs," Pam Futrell, this year's event director, said.

At 7 p.m. the Hopkinsville Fire Department Honor Guard will present the colors with the Pledge of Allegiance done by brain cancer survivor Caleb Bush, followed by the welcoming.

At 8:30 p.m. judges will begin judging campsites. However, this year, the event will feature buckets with tickets that will be handed out at every campsite in order for people to take a ticket from their favorite campsite. The judges will then give out the "People's Choice Award" for the campsite that has the most tickets.

Just as last year, the Luminary Ceremony will be held at 10 p.m., which Futrell shared is the focal point of the event.

"That is the highlight of the night. It's a very moving ceremony and we hope everybody can stay for that," she said.

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This year's theme, "Relaying through the decades" came about after last year's event when people suggested the theme be related to certain time periods, but ultimately the event planners decided to incorporate any and all decades.

"Some people said through the '20s, some people said do the '50s sock hop, the '70s. So, we decided that we would incorporate all of them and have "Relaying through decades," Futrell said.

Futrell also shared that her family's camp will feature the '20s while she knows of another camp that will be doing the '50s sock hop.

"It gives people more options to do for their campsites," Futrell said.

Going along with the theme, the event will have several activities for individuals to take part in. The event will feature two bounce houses for children as well as several booths set up with a variety of games for anyone to play.

The event will also feature a wide variety of food choices, including Walmart's corn on the cob, lemonade shake ups, funnel cakes from the Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority and much more.

"People can come around and visit all the campsites, play the different games, talk with the survivors and caregivers and just enjoy the night," Futrell said.

She added that she is excited for everything the event will be offering this year, but is hoping, most of all, that the day won't see any rain. As of right now, according to weather.com, there is an 80% chance of rain between 6 and 7 p.m. Friday.

However, Futrell shared as long as there aren't thunderstorms and torrential downpours, the event will go on, but she'd prefer to have a day with fair weather.

She is also hoping that there will be an increase from last year for donations and funds raised through the event program.

Last year, the American Cancer Society was able to provide 203 free nights at the Hope Lodge, which is equates to over $20,000. There were also 13 patients who received a ride to their cancer treatment or were aided in transportation.

Finally, there was more 320 services provided to patients of the American Cancer Society, all due to the amount of donations from last year's event. Futrell expects the numbers to be relatively the same this year but is hoping to see an increase in order for cancer patients to receive the help they need.

Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or aseeger@kentuckynewera.com. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra

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