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Watertown fairgrounds hosting Relay for Life Friday

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WATERTOWN — Teams from across the tri-county area will gather at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, 970 Coffeen St., from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday for the North Country Relay for Life in Watertown.

At last count there were about 25 teams signed up to participate, according to Donald J. Boshart, senior community development manager for the American Cancer Society, including teams that previously participated in the Lewis County Relay for Life and some newly formed teams.

Due to decreasing participation, the county events were consolidated into one for the entire northern region.

Since the late 1980s, Relay for Life has been the largest community fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Relay for Life started when Dr. Gordon Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Washington, walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money. His idea caught on, and eventually cities, towns and villages across the country and the world started forming teams and staging their own relays and raising millions of dollars.

At the North Country Relay for Life, events will include opening ceremonies, a parade of teams and activities at the tents and will conclude with a luminaries ceremony. Each team will set up an area to raise funds through raffles, games and activities.

Meanwhile, each team is expected to have at least one member walking the track for the entire event. There are also special laps to honor cancer survivors and caregivers.

The luminaries ceremony, which involves decorated bags in honor or in memory of someone battling or lost to cancer is the touching traditional conclusion to Relay for Life. Luminary lights may be purchased ahead of time by emailing Rflluminary@yahoo.com.

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