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Hastings Relay for Life reboots for 2017

For more than 20 years, Hastings has hosted a Relay for Life event. A fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is traditionally held at the high school, with music blaring over a set of speakers as teams camp out and rotate people on and off the walking track.

Things will look a bit different this year, however. First off is a change in location.

"This year, we're moving down to the river," said Linda Kampa, co-chair of the Hastings event.

The August event will be held in Levee Park at the Rotary Pavilion. The organizers made the switch in hopes of gaining new exposure while also taking advantage of the new city resource.

Kampa said that the high school has been a great host site for many years, and it's thanks to the city and its renovation efforts that Relay for Life is relocating.

"It's such a great spot," Kampa said, "... so why not use it?"

Plus, the riverfront offers a little extra visibility, especially to traffic crossing the Highway 61 bridge. Kampa said that she's hoping some of those people who see the event might stop and check it out.

The location isn't the only change this year. Three live bands are slated to perform during the event, including the award-winning musician Joe Gillaspie, who is also the emcee for the event. Two local bands, The Coxmen and Afterburner, will also perform live for Relay for Life.

Kampa said that organizers are also planning for kids' activities handled through the Hastings YMCA, food trucks and a beer tent.

"There are a lot of big things happening this year," Kampa said.

Although the culminating event isn't happening until August, Kampa said that efforts for this year's fundraising event are already getting started now. Teams can sign up now and early registrants can gain a boost in fundraising; teams that are signed up by April 15 will have their first $100 in donations matched.

Kampa said the match isn't the only reason to sign up early.

"The biggest reason is to have the time to do fundraising," she said.

Relay for Life works to collect funds for the American Cancer Society to help combat cancer of all kinds through research and advocacy. All the funds raised through Relay for Life go to support the American Cancer Society. Many Relay for Life teams set up their own fundraising events over the course of the summer, Kampa explained.

Locally, event organizers are hoping Hastings Relay for Life walkers can raise at least $25,000 in 2017. They're also hoping to sign up at least 20 teams.

How it works

Those who participate in Relay for Life sign up as part of a team. Teams then raise funds for the American Cancer Society. On the day of the relay, teams join together to walk around a walking course, with at least one person representing each team on the track for every lap, to signify that cancer never sleeps.

The walking relay begins with a survivor's lap for those who have overcome cancer or those who are currently battling cancer. That is followed by a lap for caregivers. Later in the evening, the track will be illuminated by luminarias made by participants in honor of those lost. During the walk, teams hold various events at their individual camps alongside the track.

Hastings Relay

The Hastings Relay for Life event will take place from 6-11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, at the Rotary Pavilion in Levee Park.

Those who want to participate but don't have a team can contact co-chairs Linda Kampa at 651-442-7960 to help find a team to join.

Information is available online at relayforlife.org/hastingsmn. Those interested in corporate sponsorships should contact Melissa Wind of the American Cancer Society at 651-255-8173.

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