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Counties prepare for Relay events

Friends and families of those touched by cancer will once again join together for the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life events in Rockdale and Newton counties.

The 2008 Relay for Life for Newton County will be held from 5:30 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday at Sharp Stadium, and the 2008 Relay for Life of Rockdale County will be held from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday at the Georgia International Horse Park.

Newton County's Relay for Life begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday with a survivor registration and reception at Sharp Stadium, located at 3135 Newton Drive in Covington.

Opening ceremonies begin at 6:55 p.m. with a presentation of colors and singing of the National Anthem.

The survivor lap begins at 7:10 p.m., and the luminary service starts at 9:30 p.m.

"It's always an awesome event," said Senior Community Manger for Relay for Life Victoria Patrick.

Throughout the night, the event will feature live entertainment, inflatables for children and contests like the Miss Relay Pageant. Teams that have camp sites also will decorate them like scenes from movies, Patrick said.

Last year, 75 teams participated in the Newton County Relay for Life and they raised $309,000.

So far this year, 74 teams have signed up but others can register up until the day of the event.

"If you're not part of a team yet, just come out, and I promise you'll have a good time," Patrick said. "Last year was shoulder to shoulder, so it's sure to be crowded."

She said the donation goal is always $1 more than last year's numbers; so far, the teams have raised more than $112,000.

Closing ceremonies start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and the final lap starts at 8 a.m.

Those interested in starting a team or purchasing luminaries for Newton's event can do so online at www.events.cancer.org/rflnewtonga or at the event. The Web site also features fundraising events and opportunities for donations.

In Rockdale, the Relay for Life will start at 7 p.m. Friday at the Georgia International Horse Park's Grand Prix Arena in Conyers.

Like the event in Newton County, Rockdale's Relay for Life will feature opening ceremonies, on-site fundraisers, a survivor lap, a luminary ceremony and food and entertainment for the entire family.

"It's a really great community event," said Yolanda Odom, administrative assistant for Relay for Life.

Last year, the Rockdale County Relay for Life raised $260,000 and had 82 teams. The group currently has 66 teams and has raised $116,000.

The event will end at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Anyone interested in starting a team or purchasing luminaries for Rockdale event's can do so at the event or online at www.events.cancer.org/rflrockdalega, which also includes more information about fundraising events.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If You Go

What: 2008 Relay for Life of Rockdale County

When: 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday

Where: Georgia International Horse Park's Grand Prix Arena, Conyers

More information: www.events.cancer.org/rflrockdalega

What: 2008 Relay for Life for Newton County

When: 5:30 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday

Where: Sharp Stadium, 3135 Newton Drive, Covington

More information: www.events.cancer.org/rflnewtonga