Despite the heat during Friday night's McDonald County Relay For Life at the Pineville Square, attendance was great, organizers said.
PINEVILLE — Despite the heat during Friday night's McDonald County Relay For Life at the Pineville Square, attendance was great, organizers said.
"The attendance from the community was great, especially with the heat the way it was," said Patty Johnson, co-chair for the Relay. "A Relay chairperson from another area Relay came down to support us and told us we won for the hottest event yet. When I talked to some of our survivors at the event, they thought the attendance was down some, but we're not sure if it was from the change in location or the heat. I know I saw some people there all night this time that I don't think had stayed all night in the past."
This year's Relay was moved to the Pineville Square from McDonald County High School's track because of construction. The event started at 6 p.m. Friday and continued until 6 a.m. Saturday.
"Having it at the square was pretty good," Johnson said. "We heard from many people that they liked it better at the square — made it feel more like a community event. By being at the square, it did put everything closer together, so it was easier for teams to interact with each other. With our team count the way it was, the square worked well. If our team count grows — which we really want it to — the square might not be as easy to work with, or we'll just have to have some teams set up on the pavement instead of the grass."
The monetary goal for this year's Relay was $36,500.
"As of now, we are at $30,564.78," she said. "So approximately 84 percent of our goal. We still have some money coming in, so we should get closer."
One of the new things this year at the event was a tribute board in the survivor's tent.
"I think the tribute board went OK for the first year," she said. "Melissa Lance, Stephanie Gilmore and their team did a great job putting the board together. I'd like to see more pictures on the board next year, but with this being the first year, we were pleased."
The Relay committee is planning their wrap up meeting sometime in the first part of July. Then in either August or September, they will start the planning for the 2014 McDonald County Relay For Life.
"We'll be looking for people who want to get involved with next year's event either by joining the committee or forming teams," she said. "We want to get our team count back to where it was in the past with the track at the school lined with team campsites. We're slowly getting there. People can contact me at this email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they are interested and we'll let them know when we start working on next year."
Overall, Johnson is pleased with this year's participation.
"I am extremely pleased with the participation from everyone," she said. "Our committee and teams worked really hard on the event this year. Our entertainment chair lined up some great entertainment that everyone enjoyed. The support from the community was great. Businesses in the community helped us spread the word about the change in the location really well with many businesses putting it on their marquees to help get the word out. We had local businesses donate items for the concessions and the survivor dinner, some even at the last minute when we found ourselves in a bind. It was definitely a community effort and we really appreciate everyone's support."