by Laura Freeman

Reporter

Hudson -- Local Relay For Life organizers think this could be the year they reach the $300,000 plateau at the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society June 2 and 3.

"We've been just shy of $300,000 the last couple of years, and we're hoping to get over the hump," said Hudson-Stow Relay For Life co-chair Dianna Palmeri.

The 2007 Hudson-Stow Relay For Life provides 24 hours of entertainment and family activities, but also has a serious side, as cancer survivors are recognized and those who lost the battle to cancer are remembered, said co-chair Dianna Palmeri.

Nearly 100 teams will walk the Hudson High School track beginning June 2 and continuing until 9 a.m. June 3, Palmeri said. At least one member of each team must be on the track during the entire event.

Participants will begin setting up at 9 a.m. with the opening ceremony at 11 a.m., Palmeri said.

"Cancer survivors make a lap by themselves and then all the teams parade around one lap," Palmeri said.

There will be two entertainment stages this year, plus games and concessions stands.

The "Cirque du Relay," from noon to 2 p.m., will provide games such as tic tac toe, bingo ball, ring toss and more for children ages 10 and younger.

In addition to "Cirque," there will be games and contests for children of all ages every hour between noon and 9 p.m., including a frozen T-shirt contest, musical chairs, a free throw contest, 3-legged race, egg toss, a Relay scavenger hunt, and a pie-eating contest. At the same time, participants can sign up to compete in a co-rec volleyball tournament from 2 to 4 p.m., a co-rec flag football tournament from 4 to 6 p.m., or a 2-on-2 basketball tournament from 6 to 8 p.m.

During a "locks of love" hour from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., local salons will cut hair at no charge, to be donated to make wigs for children who have lost their hair due to a medical condition, Palmeri said.

"Down on the Corner," a new addition to this year's Relay, will feature ongoing entertainment throughout the day. Demonstrations by Hickey's Karate, the Talent Tree of Little Leapers, Nia White Belt, Visions of the Nile Belly Dance School, and the On Target Fencing Team will keep walkers and attendees busy. Other entertainment includes musical performances by Folk 49, Chris Nekvinda, the Malyuk Sisters and Jazzercise.

Approximately 1,000 luminaries, which line the track, will be lit at 9 p.m. to remember those who have lost their battle to cancer and rally around those who are battling cancer now, Palmeri said.

"It's very emotional, and it's why we're there," Palmeri said.

The public can purchase a luminary for $10 by contacting Shari Post at 330-688-7658.

American Fireworks will light up the skies at 10 p.m.

The nighttime fun includes tournaments for ping-pong, bocce ball, corn hole, Frisbee golf, badminton, euchre, bingo, Connect Four, Bunco and chess. Also back for walkers will be Midnight Madness with a new set of entertaining laps. The morning sun will bring the first ever Relay sunrise service, followed by the closing ceremony at 8 a.m. June 3.

The Hope Stage entertainment schedule, features Hudson High School Jazz Band 2 at 9 a.m., Hudson Jazz Lab at 10:15 a.m., The Lockwood All-Star Band with Cleveland Fats at noon, the Western Reserve Community Band at 2 p.m., Project 9 at 3:30 p.m., Dancin' Around the Track with Sue Marino at 4 p.m., an inaugural dinner theatre production by Hudson Players at 5:30 p.m., Anne E. DeChant at 7:30 p.m. and Eclyptic at 10 p.m.

Finally, a new food court at Relay offers attendees the chance to enjoy a variety of menu choices.

"We've made a strong effort to create an entertaining, family-friendly atmosphere at this year's Relay," said Beth Abriatis, another event co-chair.

"We hope everyone in the Hudson and Stow communities can find time to join us on June 2 and 3 to celebrate hope in our united fight against cancer," Palmeri said.

The Hudson-Stow Relay For Life is in its ninth year and has raised more than $1.5 million for the American Cancer Society. It is the second largest Relay in the state of Ohio. Call Abriatis at 330-656-9399 or Palmeri at 330-342-7159 for more information.

Editor's note: Freeman is a reporter for the Hudson Hub-Times.

E-mail: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3150