The 30th annual Paulding County Relay for Life will be held at the Paulding County Fairgrounds on Friday June 2, 2023. It’s a huge fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, which helps many all over the area become cancer survivors instead of victims.

Their goal this year is to raise $70,000 for the American Cancer Society. Facilities around the area get funds from the American Cancer Society include many that treat patients from Paulding County. These include but are not limited to The Toledo Clinic Cancer and the Cleveland Center Hope Lodge, which provides a free home away from home for cancer patients and their families away for treatment.

The Paulding County event will start at 6 p.m., with survivor registration beginning at 5:30 pm. Organizer Jillene McMichael gave the Paulding Progress a rundown of the schedule and planned events. At 6 p.m. the opening ceremony will have survivors walk one lap. Caretakers will then walk a lap, followed by the public to walk a lap in support of cancer survivors.

Throughout the evening, vendors like Grounded and Fuel Good will serve food and beverages. Several teams participating will bring food and/or beverages to share. There will also be kids’ games and activities, including a bounce house and face painting. Novelties will also be available for the public to purchase. Larry Colley will coordinate music and sound for the event, keeping the festival atmosphere going.

At 7 p.m. comes a favorite of many attendees, the frozen t-shirt contest. Several relay t-shirts are soaked in cold water, balled up, and then frozen for 24 hours before the Relay for Life. The first person to successfully thaw their t-shirt and put it on wins a prize. While it may sound easy, no fire or other methods can be used to thaw the shirt, just body heat. The shirts are also of various sizes starting from a Child’s large.

At 8 p.m. is the golf ball drop. Up to 250 numbered golf balls are purchased for five dollars each. The balls are then dropped from an extended fire ladder, over 35 feet, onto an area surrounding a single golf tee. The ball(s) closest to the tee or touching it wins half of the money collected from purchasing golf balls.

At 9 p.m. the luminarias are lit in remembrance of survivors and victims of cancer. Luminaria can be purchased in honor of a survivor, caregivers, or anyone lost to cancer. Each luminaria is ten dollars. There is a moment of complete silence to recognize everyone directly affected by cancer. Music is then provided by David Bussing, whose father Randy passed with cancer.

At 10 p.m. the Relay for Life takes advantage of the darkness and the venue to start a drive-in to show two movies at the fairgrounds. Until midnight there will be various silent auctions and raffles. The last movie ends at 2 a.m., marking the end of another Relay for Life in Paulding County hopefully a success for the organizers, event leadership team and volunteers.