The Kern community is invited back this year to the County Fairgrounds on May 6 and 7 for the 32nd annual Bakersfield Relay For Life.
Relay for Life is a worldwide nonprofit dedicated to raising money to eliminate cancer that unites communities with a walk around a track to celebrate cancer survivors. This relay will run from 8:30 a.m. Saturday to 9:30 a.m. Sunday, with myriad activities in between.
“It’s our second year out of COVID, so we’re hoping for a great attendance,” said Donna Hermann, an organizer and cancer survivor.
Hermann said the theme this year is “Fighting Cancer in All Colors,” and said to expect a weekend adorned in purple.
Festivities begin Saturday morning, with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. followed by a survivor lap, which commemorates survivors and those currently living with cancer. Attendees are asked to line the track during the survivor lap and cheer them on. Later on, they will host a panel of various medical professionals, who will answer common questions about cancer and research.
At night, organizers said they have planned a glow dance from 10 p.m. to midnight, and bingo at 2 a.m., among other events.
“A lot of teams will stay up all night,” Hermann said.
And leading up to the weekend, there will also be a Survivor Social Tuesday on May 2, in the Harvest Hall at the Kern County Fairgrounds from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Attendees can enjoy dinner, raffle tickets and other festivities.
This year, 3,000 to 4,000 people are expected to participate, a drop in attendance from pre-COVID times that saw upwards of 7,000 relayers.
“We just hope that the community will come out and support all these teams and the fight against cancer,” Hermann said.
Hermann did add that they expect the return of Nate Wren, a local who last year walked and ran the entire 24 hours in honor of his friend Rocky Bess, whom he met at Relay for Life years ago.
“They met here and just developed a bond,” Hermann said.
Despite decreasing attendance, the relay raised more than $387,000 in 2022 and expects to yield between $400,000 and $450,000 by Aug. 31, when donations are collected.
“We continue to raise money throughout the year, so the number on relay day isn’t the full count,” Hermann said.
Registration for a team is $100 and will include admission to live entertainment, food vendors and luminaria bags lining the track. All proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.
For details, or for more information on the event, visit the Bakersfield Relay For Life website or RSVP at email@example.com.
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