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Home, sweet home

Cancer survivors are shown walking the first lap at last year’s Bertie Relay. The 2011 event begins tomorrow (Friday). File Photo by Thadd White

WINDSOR – Home is where the heart is.

This year, home is where you’ll find Bertie Relay for Life.

The annual event to raise funds for cancer research, the granddaddy of such events in the Roanoke-Chowan region, will make its way back home Friday when it is held at its original location – Bertie High School.

“I think the atmosphere will be good and it will be nice to be back at Bertie High School,” co-chair Codie Bartley said. “We want people to feel welcomed – we want it to feel like the old Relay where everyone is involved, but also give it a new feel.”

The other co-chair, Anita Hoggard, was equally pleased to see the event returning to Bertie High.

“It feels great to be heading back to Bertie High School,” she said. “I am extremely happy and we have received a lot of positive comments. We are back home – where Relay started.”

The event is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. Friday with opening ceremonies. Those pre-Relay festivities will be hosted by Bertie County Commissioner Norman M. Cherry Sr.

The guest speaker for the event will be Bertie County Schools Superintendent Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins. The Invocation will be provided by Windsor Commissioner the Rev. Hoyt Cooper. The presentation of colors will be performed by the Bertie High School JROTC and the National Anthem sung by Commissioner Charles Smith.

Following those ceremonies, Relay for Life will kick off with the traditional Survivor Lap for those who have fought cancer. The Caregiver Lap will be the second trip around the track.

“I think I’m most looking forward to the participation of the survivors because that’s what we are Relaying for,” said Hoggard.

Those wishing to sign up to participate as cancer survivors can contact Hoggard at 799-6601.

Shortly after Relay makes its official start, participants will have the opportunity to participate in Zumbarama where for a fee of $5, individuals can learn Zumba in the Bertie High School gym.

In addition to the opening ceremonies, there will be several live bands on stage. Steadfast will play from 7:30-8:30 p.m. followed by the Indian Woods Baptist Church Choir. The Moonshine Band will then take the stage at 10:30 p.m. and play until midnight.

At 9 p.m., the annual Luminary Ceremony will take place. That will be a time when all activities cease and those who have lost the battle with cancer are recognized as well as those who are still battling the disease.

Bartley said the early morning hours will be busy with theme laps and more. The theme laps for the year will be Sock Hop (1:30 a.m.), 60s lap (2:30 a.m.), 70s lap (3 a.m.) and 80s TV Shop lap (3:30 a.m.).

At 7 a.m. Saturday, there will be a sunrise service led by Pastor Chris Lee of Edgewood Baptist Church while at 9 a.m. the Colerain Elementary School Drill Team will present “I Will Survive.”

The crowning of Little Miss Relay and Little Mister Relay is set for 11:45 a.m. just before closing ceremonies.

“I’m looking forward to seeing everything come together and the hard work done by so many come together,” Bartley said.

Hoggard added, “The preparations have gone great. The county has come together. We’re looking forward to a great event.”