St. John Relay For Life today
Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 31, 2012
By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – Although the cause is still very much the same, local organizers of this year’s Relay for Life in St. John the Baptist Parish say the event will be slightly different from year’s past.
The signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society is set for today at Highway 51 Park in LaPlace, near the St. John Parish Community Center. Events begin at noon and carry on until midnight, which a shift from the usual overnight schedule.
“When we were holding events into the early morning hours many people were leaving early, and it didn’t give us a chance to have a true closing ceremony,” said St. John Relay for Life Co-Chair Angelle Boudreaux. “I think more afternoon hours may encourage more people to come out.”
In addition to changing hours, the event also shifted from Riverside Academy in Reserve to the LaPlace park, which is just off U.S. 51 and close to Airline Highway.
“We are right off the main road now, and people can see us,” Boudreaux said. “We are hoping to grab a little more attention.”
Boudreaux said the event has grown far beyond just a simple walk around a track and into more of a festival atmosphere, with food, games and musical performances.
“There are games and events throughout the day,” Boudreaux said. “One team is using a photo booth to attract donations and some have food available. There will also be a rock climbing wall as part of a booth sponsored by St. Charles Catholic High School.”
Boudreaux said musical performances include local acts Kerri Jane Roussel and At Close Distance, featuring Austin Forsythe. Cancer survivors will be presented at 3 p.m. and the walk starts at 5 p.m. The luminaries’ event, in which loved ones are remembered or honored with a candle-lit bag, begins at 9 p.m.
Boudreaux said as of Thursday, 31 teams and more than 300 participants have signed up to be involved, which is close to the same as last year.
Participants have raised more than $12,900 for cancer research, which eclipses last year’s total.
“We have a lot of new teams and new participants who were interested in seeing what the event was about,” Boudreaux said.