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Back to the future
Relay for Life returns with ’80s theme
relay 2021 precede pic
Survivors take part in the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Relay for Life of Barton County last September. This year’s event takes place Friday at Jack Kilby Square in downtown Great Bend. - photo by Tribune file photo

If you want to go 

The Relay for life of Barton County is set for Friday at Jack Kilby Square in downtown Great Bend. Opening ceremonies including the Survivor Walk starting at 6 p.m. with the luminary ceremony at dusk. 

Call Kandi Wolf at 620-6036175 for more information.

Great Scott!

It’ll be a chance to break out the parachute pants and big hair with the 2021 Relay for Life of Barton County theme “Back to the ’80s” — no flux capacitor or DeLorean time machine necessary. 

The cancer-fighting event takes place Friday at Jack Kilby Square in downtown Great Bend with opening ceremonies, including the Survivor Walk, starting at 6 p.m., and the luminary ceremony at dusk. Between the two will be a wide variety of food, activities and live music.

It will be a welcomed time-traveling venture to a simpler time before COVID-19. The pandemic nearly forced the cancelation of the 2020 relay, which finally took place on a Sunday in September (they historically occur on Fridays in June).

“We feel it will be a fun theme,” said Chairperson Kandi Wolf. “We think people will have a good time with it.”

Although they will encourage social distancing and face coverings will be available, the Relay Committee is thrilled for the return of live music and a return of a more festive atmosphere.

“We are excited to be getting back to normal,” Wolf said. “It is nice to see people getting out and about.”

But, it is not all retro fun and games.

“We need to finish the fight,” she said. “This horrible, horrible disease touches all of our lives in one way or another.”

So, she encourages folks to come out and raise money for research into ways of curing cancer in all its forms. “This is something you just need to make time for.”

Relay is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. No smoking, alcohol or pets (except registered service animals) are allowed.

What’s going on?

The entire detailed schedule will be printed in the Great Bend Tribune come Wednesday and Friday. It will also appear on the relay’s Facebook page,

“There are a lot of exciting things planned,” Wolf said. However, she stressed the schedule is subject to change.

In a nutshell, the schedule includes:

• 6 p.m. – opening ceremony. 

This includes an invocation by the Rev. Bill Johnson, an American flag presentation by the American Legion Riders Post 180, an original poem by MaKenna Dirks and stories of loved a one lost to cancer from Mariann Shook and Connie Lowe.

Tim Messmer will serve as DJ and master of ceremonies for the evening.

• 7 p.m. – corn hole tournament begins.

• 7-10 p.m. – chair massages by Liz Bowman.

• 8 p.m. – Community Engagement Award announcement.

There will also be assorted prize drawings at this time, including for a washer and dryer From Great Bend Appliance.

• 9 p.m. or dusk – Lighting of the Luminaries and the reading of the names (those who survived or were lost to cancer).

• 10 p.m. or after the luminaries – live music from the local band Dark Revival – Gavin Young, Thain Bowman and Rowan Orth-Johnson. Dancing is encouraged.

• 11 p.m. – Team Hickel Cuzins activities.

• Midnight – Fight Back Ceremony.

• 12:30 a.m.– more team activities

• 1:30 a.m. – final lap and closing ceremonies.

Throughout the evening, Strate’s Kountry Kitchen will be vending food on-site.

Wolf said for those not comfortable entering the square of the relay, parking stalls will be reserved so people can stay in their cars and watch.

Those wanting curbside service can call Margaret Dirks at 620-786-2111 or Donelle Brungardt at 620-786-4676.

Call Wolf at 620-603-6175 for more information.