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Get set! Relay for Life this weekend
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Nearly 30 teams and 250 to 300 walkers are putting on their sneakers to participate in this weekend's third annual Ceres Relay for Life. The 24-hour event at Ceres High School's football stadium is expected to raise more than $50,000 for the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer.

"Our Relay this year has really grown," said Risse Keys, Marketing Chair for Relay For Life. "Gallo has decided to add their four teams to the Ceres event this year and we have welcomed many new businesses/families as teams also."

The public is invited to come down to join in cheering on cancer survivors, remembering those who have lost their battle with cancer, and raising money to fight the disease. The public is welcome to come out to walk the campsites of teams and support their fundraising opportunities.

"We want people to come out and just be there and participate," said Keys. "Every single team sells something to make money. Without the community coming out they can't make much money outside of their own effort. There are food items and T shirts and other things. It's a really nice event ... like the Street Faire but a much different atmosphere."

It's not too late for teams of 12-24 people to sign up, said Keys. Persons may get into the event by calling Jill Hunt at 678-1413.

The Relay kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with the opening ceremony and immediately followed by cancer survivors walking the first lap. A breakfast provided by the Ceres Lions Club will be offered free to participants and cancer survivors starting at 8 a.m. Survivors may just show up to register to walk the survivor's lap and enjoy the celebration.

A highlight of the Relay For Life is the Luminaria Ceremony to take place at dusk on Saturday. As the stadium lights are turned off at around 8:40 p.m, personalized luminaria bags will be lit to honor individuals who've survived or lost their battle to cancer. Luminarie may be purchased on the day of the event. A special guest speaker will relate personal insight on fighting cancer as walkers stroll, remember, and celebrate the struggles of this disease.

The Relay will wrap up at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Teams formed for the Relay are from various clubs and businesses. Ceres Unified School District has teams as well as Starbucks and Les Schwab Tires.

"There are so many new teams from new businesses," said Keys. "It's been so neat to see some of these new businesses come forward."

Ten children from Becki's Munchkinland, a Ceres-based day care, will walk a couple of laps, said Becki Barton-Nicholes, with the Ceres Soroptimist Relay for Life team. The Ceres kids will also participate in Turlock's Relay for Life event at Pitman High School on June 21.

Keys said that the public may also come down to enjoy some great live music, including:

• Johnny Rocket & The Thrust, 11 a.m.;

• A local Christian band at 3:30 p.m.;

• Irony at 5:30 p.m.

• Third Wheel from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.