A new venue brought new life to the Pictou County Relay for Life on Saturday.
All in all, 21 teams made from 154 participants raised more than $58,300 in the event. That includes the more than $48,000 that came in through team pledges. That amount is expected to climb as pledges continue to come in. Funds will continue to be collected until the end of July.
Jeana’s Girls, a team of young girls from Pictou, were far and away the top fundraising team with some $15,800 raised while the team’s Georgia Murray was the top individual fundraiser with $3,975 raised.
Vicki Moore, speaking on behalf of the Pictou County Relay for Life, said the smaller overall size of Glasgow Square compared to the Parkdale track led to a tighter knit crowd while still being “roomy.”
Volunteers created a makeshift track made of luminaries around the grounds of Glasgow Square with the space in the middle becoming camp for the teams taking part. The East River proved to be more than just a pleasing piece of scenery when a pair of kayaks lit up by luminaries sailed past the Relay towards the George Street Bridge.
“It’s so much more convenient,” Moore said of the new location. “The survivors don’t have to walk from Summer Street, they have everything right here; it’s more intimate but it’s still roomy.”
Although a Pictou County event, the Town of New Glasgow was awarded the Corporate Champion Award due to its consistent support of the Relay for Life. Mayor Barrie MacMillan was on hand to accept on behalf of the town.
The theme for this year’s Relay was Mardi Gras and as such the event opened with a New Orleans-style parade complete with a marching jazz band.
“We added that in for some excitement with our Mardi Gras theme and I think it was a big hit,” Moore said. “And the jazz band from North Nova was amazing. They did a beautiful job giving a New Orleans feel to it.”
Moore said the new location also led to a lower overhead and simpler operation as they didn’t have to rent and set up a stage or leave someone to watch it over night. Meanwhile, with the crowd never being too far away, people were better able to enjoy the live music on stage.
“I think the entertainment will be appreciated more this year because they do get to sit and listen,” Moore said during the event, “and even if they are doing the track they still get to hear.”
Relay media chair Kim Dickson said the unofficial total for the Relay announced at midnight June 11 at the conclusion of the event includes team fundraising, individual donations, corporate donations, canteen sales and luminary sales.
“The team presentations for fundraising awards were based on bank night totals which was June 8,” she said. This is to prepare medals for presentation.
“Jeana’s Girls were truly inspiring. The Relay is so proud of their leadership as well as that of other youth teams. So many inspiring stories from all participants of all ages. We had three very young survivors taking part that are only about 5-7 years old.”
The official count will not be available until early August as on line donations are still accepted until the end of July.