I was going to go into great detail on the escapades of the Relay for Life that I participated in, but I doubt you want to hear to whole long, drawn out story. I’ll try to trim it down into something readable.
The Weather ~ well, it wasn’t too bad when Katie and I arrived at around 3:30 p.m., but we heard a storm was on the way and, sure enough, within about 20 minutes the sky was dark and truly scary. We quickly popped up our tent (but did NOT secure it, duh!), and went to set up the pop up tent for the vendor booth. We had just gotten the top up and were beginning to secure it when the wind hit and hit H-A-R-D! I was holding one of the legs on the back side of the tent and when the wind blew, it lifted me almost off the ground! Katie had the front and was trying to stake them down, and (Praise the Lord) a kind young man in the vending booth next to us grabbed the other back side leg before we all went toppling over. For a few minutes, we all three just held on for dear life until the wind finally subsided – about 10 minutes. We did have just a little bit of rain at the beginning of the Team Banner walk, but it subsided too and everything quieted down.
Our bake sale went very nicely. I wasn’t too sure we’d have enough in baked goods, but my friends came through like gangbusters and we had cookies, brownies, s’mores, cupcakes, scones and a myriad of great things that sold well! It was a lot of fun chatting with some of the people who stopped to look and/or to buy. We met some interesting people. We even had a “vegan” stop by looking to see what we had to satisfy her cravings ~ we provided a trail mix combination that she loved and came back for more! All total, we earned a little over $100 from just the bake sale/vendor booth.
The Atmosphere ~ Wow! what can I say about the whole thing? It was organized chaos! So much fun! There were so many things going on throughout the entire night that you couldn’t NOT have something to do! There were themed laps that were sponsored by teams. Things like a hula hoop lap, crazy hat lap and the like. There were bands and entertainment on the stage all the time. Kids were dancing and having an awesome time. There was a quieter time when they read poems and reflected on the reason we were participating in this event. There was the luminaries lit up around the track and up in the stands after dark. It was truly beautiful and inspiring. We were not the only team to have a vendor booth, the whole trackside was lined with other teams and some companies that had wares to sell. How about glow-in-the-dark cotton candy? There was even one young girl walking around with a sign that said she was selling hugs for $1.00 each! Lol! There were crafts and food everywhere.
For awhile, I went up to our campsite (around 1:00 a.m.) just to see if I could lay down and rest for an hour. Each campsite was very small… just large enough for one or two tents, one in front of the other, and then a couple of chairs and most other campsites had fire pits with warming campfires lighting up the night. We did not have one of those. So our tent was pretty cold, made worse by laying on the ground (on top of sleeping bags) and even with a heavy blanket, resting was futile. Especially since all the other campsites were rowdy and having fun etc. After an hour, I gave up and went back to the vending booth and kept Katie company again.
Did I mention that the theme of the night was “Mardi Gras”? There were beads everywhere, but I can honestly say we were the only two with masks. Our bake sale customers apparently loved it as we got lots of compliments and smiles.
Things began to die down around 3:30 a.m., so we decided to pack in the bake sale booth and stay at camp until 5:00 when Al was supposed to show up and help us pack up to go home. It seemed like around 4 a.m. all of the other campers and vendors were packing it in and heading out. So I called Al and (after waking him up) asked him to come now as we were pretty much done. In the wait time for Al to get there, we tore down our part of the campsite and put our things away and loaded up my SUV with as much as possible. When I say “we” I really mean Katie… as she did the bulk of all of the hauling, lifting, pushing, pulling and everything else related to both the campsite and the vending booth! She never once complained or skipped a beat in doing whatever was necessary to get the job done. Not once.
Indeed, if it weren’t for Katie’s help, none of this would’ve even been pulled off. With my mobility becoming more of an issue, she just stepped right up and lent a hand everywhere!
The Quilt Raffle ~ Al made me an awesome quilt rack (that I didn’t even know about), and he brought it to the vendor booth and set it up so I could display the raffle quilt and sell more raffle tickets prior to the midnight drawing. At midnight, the American Cancer Society Coordinator, Sarah Curtin, came to our vending booth to pick the raffle winner. She chose the ticket and read me the name, then went to the stage to make the official announcement on the loudspeaker. Heather VanLuven Skiff was the winner! Heather owns a salon in Weedsport, and has been mine and Al’s hairdresser for the past 15+ years. All in all, the raffle brought in $415.00. I was the second highest earner on our team (the highest earner works at a doctor’s office with access to many physicians etc). Our team total was $1,859.20 ~ our goal had been $1,000. Not too shabby!
Reflections ~ Would I do this again? I would LOVE to, but it’s too much hard work involved and I’m not able to do as much/enough anymore. I am becoming too dependent on my husband and my daughter to do all the grunt work, and it’s not fair to them. It’s definitely a FUN event, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who is very active, can stay up all night, likes to camp, and doesn’t mind hard work. I thought early on that I’d like to have my own team next year, and I would love to, but I’m not sure I can go through this again… at least not like this year. We’ll see. I don’t HAVE to have a vending booth. I could just go as a spectator – anyone can come, there’s no admission fee. Just come and browse the vendors, enjoy the entertainment and support the American Cancer Society. It’s too soon to plan that far ahead.
So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’d really like to thank all of those friends, family, colleagues and co-workers that donated and/or bought quilt raffle tickets. You are SO appreciated! I’d also like to thank those friends and family that donated baked goods to our vendor booth. We had so many customers and so many compliments on everything that was offered for sale! I’d especially like to thank Al Eckstadt and Katie Eckstadt for going above and beyond for me, yet again. They are a blessing beyond words, and I love them both so much! Let’s do this again, shall we?! j/k
Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at how the Relay went. See you next time.
TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt