Cancer survivors walk the first lap of the Relay For Life on Friday night. Holding the banner is honorary chairperson, Scott Bingham.
Cancer survivors walk the first lap of the Relay For Life on Friday night. Holding the banner is honorary chairperson, Scott Bingham.
People from all over Houston County convened in Spring Grove Friday night, Aug. 2, for the Relay For Life. This annual event is shared by the communities in Houston County with each of the four communities - Houston, La Crescent, Caledonia and Spring Grove - hosting it for two years in a row before it moves on to the next community.

Spring Grove's event was held at the Fest Building with the walking track encircling the building as well as the playground and volleyball court.

The 24 teams that participated had tents, campers and lawn chairs set up around the area as team members took turns walking the track.

"We had gorgeous weather and great attendance of teams and the public," commented Judy Bratland Houston County Relay For Life co-chair.

"We even ran out of food for a little bit! But we got more pork burgers and hot dogs and just kept announcing that there was more food!" she added with a chuckle.

Bratland said that money is still coming in, but when the Relay finished early Saturday morning, they had raised about $45,000. The top money-raising team was the Sisters and Family team raising $6,000.

There were at least 1,500 luminaria along the track that were "in honor of" or "in memory of" people. At two different times throughout the evening, balloons were released sending special messages to those in heaven.

Throughout the night there was musical entertainment as well as games like kubb, bingo and Heads and Tails.

"It was so nice to see so many youth participate," remarked Bratland. "They had a great time playing volleyball under the lights, and it was great to see them fill the stage for karaoke!"

The evening wrapped up with a continental breakfast at about 4:30 a.m.

"We hope everyone had a great time. It is wonderful to see so many come together to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Things really have come a long ways with cancer research and treatment. Together we can all make a difference."

"This is a big event that takes a lot of planning, and we couldn't have done it without all of the many volunteers that made the evening a success. Joycelyn and I thank you very much!" added Bratland.

The 2014 Houston County Relay For Life will be held in Spring Grove.