Your guide: Relay for Life of Palm Beach County

If you’re looking for a fun-filled way to spend your Saturday night while raising money for a great cause, head to the South Florida Fairgrounds for the Relay for Life of Palm Beach County.

Here’s everything you need to know about this family-friendly event.

Full disclosure: I’ve volunteered for this event for several years, since my father died of cancer in 2012. I love Relay and how it brings people together to raise money for the American Cancer Society, while still managing to have some fun.

What are the basic details?

The event is 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd. You’ll be able to see the event from Southern. Enter through Gate 5. Admission and parking are free. There will be charges for some entertainment and activities, and teams will have on-site fundraisers.

What is it?

The Relay for Life is a fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society. It was founded in May 1985 by Dr. Gordy Klatt in Tacoma, Washington. He walked 24 hours around a track to raise money for ACS.

Relay has changed over the years. Locally, we’ve gone from several events throughout Palm Beach County to one merged event. We’ve also gone from 12 hours to 10 hours and now to five hours.

Do I have to walk the entire five hours?

No! Typically, team members take turns walking the track, with the goal of having one team member on the track at all times. If you’re not a member of a team, you can walk as much or as little as you’d like.

What is the theme?

The theme is “Wish Upon a Cure,” with each team choosing a Disney movie. Teams will decorate their tent sites and dress to the theme.

Will there be food and drinks?

Yes. Teams set up tents around the track, and each team offers an on-site fundraiser. Some teams will have food and drinks for sale. Here are some of the items you can expect:

  • Family-friendly Jell-O shots from Wellington Regional Medical Center
  • Baked goods and nuts from the Royal Palm Beach High School Wildcat Dancers
  • Snow cones from the Royal Palm Beach High School Best Buddies
  • Jamaican food, baked goods and bottled water from the Island Steppers team
  • Sunkist strawberry lemonade soda from the Hip to be Squares team (my team!)
  • Beef jerky from the Gator Boys team
  • Hot dogs from the Deano Strong team
  • Bottled beverages from the Cap’s Cancer Commandos team
  • Orange chicken, fried rice, lo mein and bottled water from the Pam’s Warriors team
  • PDQ chicken sandwiches, king cake and chocolate-covered pretzels from the Cancer Crusaders, NPI Friends and Family and The Rookies teams
  • Empanadas and tacos in a cup from the On Angels Wings team

What are the other team fundraisers?

The Cypress Trail Elementary School team will sell glow-in-the-dark gear, Cap’s Cancer Commandos will sell mystery prize eggs and On Angels Wings will sell Relay for Life insulated tumblers. And there will be more!

What should you bring?

Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and cash. While you can buy food and drinks at the event, you also are welcome to bring your own. Pets will not be allowed, unless they are service animals. We honor canine caregivers with our Bark for Life event, which was last month.

What is the Luminaria Ceremony?

We honor survivors, those still being treated for cancer and those who have died of cancer during the Luminaria Ceremony at 8:30 p.m. A slideshow of photos plays during the ceremony, with the faces of those we love who have been affected by cancer. To have your photo included in the slideshow, send it to

The event also includes a lap of silence, with decorated bags lining the track and the event lights dimmed. Each bag is decorated in honor of someone with cancer, and it is illuminated from inside. To dedicate a luminaria bag to someone you know who has been affected by cancer, go to

What activities will there be for children?

A Kids Fun Zone sponsored by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and RJM Homes is $5 per person to play all day. There will be a bounce house and bungee trampoline from 4 to 8:30 p.m.; arts and crafts tent from 4 to 7 p.m.; face painter from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; petting zoo from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; and visits from Mirabel and Elsa from 6 to 7 p.m.

Teams also will have games and activities at their tents.

How will cancer survivors be honored?

If you are a cancer survivor or going through treatment, we want to honor you. There will be a special celebration at the beginning of the event, with a complimentary dinner for cancer survivors at 5 p.m. For more information, call 561-635-4084 or email

What else do I need to know?

The truck will be on-site throughout the event collecting donations. Bring any of the following items, but please do not bring anything that is broken, torn, stained or damaged:

Antiques, home and holiday decor, artwork, baby clothing, linens, furniture, bicycles, books, small kitchen appliances, CDs and DVDs, dishes, clothing, collectibles, mobility aids, exercise equipment, game consoles, handbags and wallets, irons and ironing boards, jewelry, pillows, pots and pans, power tools, rugs, shoes, sporting goods, toys, home decor, knick-knacks, luggage, mattresses and box springs, and outdoor furniture.


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