Boyertown Relay prepares for its tenth anniversary

The Boyertown Relay for Life is getting ready to celebrate its tenth anniversary on June 24 at the Boyertown Community Park.

The event, according to the Senior Community Manager from the American Cancer Society (ACS) Amy Miller, is planned to broaden its horizons while still remembering the past.

“Because it is our tenth anniversary, we definitely want to pay homage to the previous nine years,” said Miller. “We’re going to be interspersing different things that we’ve done in the past throughout the relay.”

There will be memorabilia and decorations from years past, and volunteers will be able to share their favorite memories.

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This year the relay is taking on a superhero theme -- featuring a different superhero for each lap over the course of the day. There will also be many superhero themed games for children, including a superhero scavenger hunt and a build your own superhero workshop.

The event will open with a speech from Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach, followed by the ribbon cutting with State Rep. Dave Maloney-- who was integral to getting the relay started in Boyertown.

Afterwards will be the Parade of Teams, which will showcase the organizations and groups that work to fundraise and gather donations for the relay. Currently 36 teams are registered with the event.

Live performances are also planned, such as six different live bands as well as appearances of the Boyertown Alumni Band and dancers from the Studios on Main.

In addition, guests will be able to take part in a disc golf competition throughout the day and play games such as superhero bingo.

During the Survivor Ceremony, survivors and their families will get an opportunity to take a celebratory lap, and also get a free meal and T-shirt. The survivor dinner and festivities will take place at 6 p.m. Survivors are encouraged to sign up. Each survivor who registers will receive a survivor shirt and a goodie bag in addition to their dinner. Survivors are also welcome to bring along their caregiver for dinner.

Mother and daughter Barbara Frantz and Jennifer Swavely have been named this year’s Honorary Survivors and Honorary Caregivers. These two women have exchanged rolls and are both survivors. They choose to Relay to overcome the double fear factor that they could both end up fighting the battle again.

The Luminaria Ceremony will take place at 9 p.m. around the Boyertown Community Pool.

Activities manager LeeAnn Fanetti said that with a packed schedule of events, it is the work of the year-round planning committee that helps bring everything together.

“It’s the people who are running it that will make it a success. We’re pushing it more than we have before, and we are getting more out into the community that we have in the past,” she said.

The Boyertown Relay for Life is one of the most successful relays in Berks County, according to Miller, and holds the second spot in the county for total amount of money raised for the ACS. This year, Boyertown’s monetary goal is to raise $215,000. Over the past nine years, it has raised over $1.6 million.

It also the only Relay for Life in the county that takes place at a park, after moving there from the Boyertown Area Senior High football stadium four years ago.

Miller mentioned that Boyertown always has a very special kind of relay that feeds off of the small town community energy.

“I think Boyertown is special because it really has that community feel,” she said. “We always have a lot of local speakers. Some events need to look elsewhere for people to talk, but we always find so many people from the town who are willing to share their story.”

The Boyertown Relay for Life will take place all day on Saturday, June 24, starting at 9:30 a.m at the Boyertown Community Park. The event will conclude at 10 a.m. on Sunday.