Unicoi County Festival of Hope bringing new life to ACS Relay

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Aug 21, 2018 at 9:47 PM

ERWIN — The Unicoi County community is coming together for a new take on its annual Relay for Life for American Cancer Society - a weeklong series of fun events designed to give more people an opportunity to join the fight against cancer.

“This is kind of a new take on the Relay for Life fairs and really a new life for Relay, Jessica Poff, community manager for Unicoi County Relay,” Poff said.

“If Relay for Life is not your thing, this has something everyone can be a part of, a bluegrass night, a car show, a concert, a ball game. We’ve tried to make it truly a community event and we’re super excited about. It’s a nice change up.”

Saturday, Aug. 25

The festival will begin with a “Pancake Princess Breakfast” set for 8:30-11:30 a.m. Checkerboard Cafe on Rock Creek Road, sponsored by the Unicoi County High School Arts Alliance Against Cancer Relay for Life team.

The traditional Unicoi County Relay for Life will be held from from 6-10 p.m. high school track and this year will include a Cruise-In for A Cure car show open to all cars trucks and bikes with no entry fee and a vendors village.

The Relay will feature honorary laps for cancer survivors, a luminary ceremony to honors to those who have died with cancers lots of music, food and games in between, including live performances by Smokey Mountain Sideshow.

The popular Hope Glo 2-Mile Run/Walk will start at 8:30. The entry fee is $25 and includes an event T-shirt and a chance to break the state two mile record. Registration forms may be completed in advance at Precision Offroad, 1150 Carolina Ave., and the Plant Palace at 123 North Main Ave. or on race night at track.

Sunday Aug. 26

A non-denominational Festival of Hope community church service with special music by Kevin Laws and the award winning Southern gospel group Phillips & Banks will start at 3 p.m. at the high school auditorium.

Food trucks and ice cream will be available outside the school beginning at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. the auditorium doors will reopen for an evening concert by the national touring contemporary Christian group Building 429. The concert will start at 6. General admission is a $15 donation to the American Cancer Society or $25 for reserved seating.

Monday, Aug. 27

The Unicoi County High School varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams and UCHS All Cancer Matters Relay team will host a special Killin’ Cancer fundraising game a “Pie an Administrator” raffle between their bouts against Kachea. Six raffle winners will be given an opportunity to toss a pie in the face of school administrators including UCHS Principal Chris Bogart and Director of Schools John English.

Tuesday, Aug. 28

Downtown Erwin Tuesday night Farmers Market will take up the cancer fighting cause with a Festival of Hope Banana Split Eating Contest featuring huge gutter filled with banana splits sponsored by Ballad Health and the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Relay for Life team; an ice cream social, a kids fun zone, and a Caregiver Café with free snacks and beverages for all current and former cancer patient caregivers.

Wednesday, Aug. 29

The Hawg-n-Dawg restaurant at 202 Union St. with host a “BBQ, Bags & Bluegrass” benefit for the ACS featuring a cornhole tournament on and live music by the Unicoi County HIgh School Bluegrass Band on the street from 4-8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 30

The Bramble wedding and event venue on Gay Street will be hosting a sold out Passport to Hope Celebrity Waiter Dinner, featuring low country boil fare and live music by JB and the Honey Bees.

Friday, Aug. 31

The Festival of Hope wraps up with Friday Night of Lights of Hope to be held in conjunction with the UCHS football game against North Greene. The festivities will start at 5:30 with a parade from the Unicoi County YMCA to Gentry stadium. Events will include half-time recognitions of cancer survivors and caregivers and a luminary ceremony honoring those who have died from cancer.

Poff said the weeklong festival for the ACS is a first for the region and commended Unicoi County residents for their eagerness to step up and organize something different.

And it is not too late for others to be a part of it, Poff said. She encouraged anyone interested in volunteering, contributing or joining in any of the events to contact her at 423-534-1616.

<p><em>Email Sue Guinn Legg at <a href="mailto:slegg@johnsoncitypress.com" target="_blank">slegg@johnsoncitypress.com</a>. Follow her on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/sueleggjcpress" target="_blank">Twitter @sueleggjcpress</a>. Like her on Facebook at <a href="/facebook.com/sueleggjcpress" target="_blank">facebook.com/sueleggjcpress</a>.</em></p>

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