PAULDING – After two unusual years, due to the pandemic, Relay for Life hopes for a return to normal under this year’s theme, “Stronger Together.” The fundraising event for the American Cancer Society will be held on Friday, May 13, from 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. at the Paulding County Fairgrounds.

“This is a community event. Attendees do not need to be touched by cancer to be a participant or spectator,” said Jillene McMichael, of Relay for Life.

Opening ceremonies will be at 6 p.m. honorary survivors, Brenda Ruder and Karen Baughman, will lead survivors in the first lap of the relay. The second lap is usually reserved for caregivers and then everyone will be asked to join in for the third lap.

Currently, 14 teams have registered and there is still room for more teams who want to participate. “It’s not a race. Anyone can walk around the track,” added McMichael.

Activities will run from 6 – 9 p.m. and teams are encouraged to offer activities for attendees and participants. At approximately 9 p.m., the Luminaria will begin. The candlelight ceremony is designed to offer a little bit of a break for reflection. “It’s not meant to be sad, but emotional,” commented McMichael. “It’s meant to pay respect to those lost to cancer, but also honor those still fighting.”

Once the Luminaria has concluded, activities will resume during the night hours before the closing ceremony at 2 a.m.

Among the activities provided this year will be refit and pound by programs by Reta Ptak and Strong Power Fitness. The Paulding Exempted Village Schools will be sponsoring a bounce house for children in attendance.

Food vendors will also be present including Wood-fired Pizza by Ashley Dobbledaere, which will be making its second appearance at Relay for Life.

Larry Colley will provide DJ services for the event. Colley has donated his services to Relay for Life for over a decade now.

There will also be a silent auction and raffle at the Paulding County Extension Building. Anyone interested in donating items can still do so. Just drop off items by noon on the day of the event.

Anyone interested in participating, donating to the silent auction/raffle or with question about Relay for Life can reach out to Jillene McMichael at (419) 769-5504.