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The threat of severe storms Friday night and into Saturday morning didn’t deter the 15 teams participating in this year’s Relay for Life at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.
County Relay Chairman Scott Niswonger said meteorologists earlier in the week forecast a 60 percent chance of severe thunderstorms, prompting him to call a special meeting with team captains and other Relay official Thursday night to determine options for the annual event, which was held from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday.
“Basically, we were very worried,” he said. “But, we got great support from the city and the fair board, who gave us extra tents.”
Niswonger said Relay teams were offered the chance to put up their campsites underneath one of the extra-large tents; the silent auction was moved under another tent, and a third tent housed the evening’s music and entertainment.
Some of the teams did set up under the tent, but “several brave souls” opted to camp out as planned, he said.
“The rain held off until almost midnight, when we were wrapping up the silent auction,” Niswonger said, which was good timing because almost everyone was inside the tent by that time.
The tents held up well, too, he said, even when rain began to pour down at 1:30 a.m. “We had enough space, and it wasn’t uncomfortable. Not everyone stayed, but we had a really good turnout,” Niswonger said, adding that at one point he noticed the parking lot at the fairgrounds was full.
Despite having six fewer teams sign up this year than last, the Relay event raised $91,000 for the American Cancer Society – just $9,000 shy of this year’s $100,000 goal.
Of course, Relay teams can still collect donations through the end of August, when the official amount raised will be available, Niswonger said.
Either way, “it’s a great amount of money. … We’re proud of what we were able to do, and proud of the folks who worked so hard.”
Niswonger praised Kevin Craig, Melanie Stewart and the rest of the Carroll County Fair Board for providing the additional tents and also for providing food throughout the night. He also thanked the teams and the corporate sponsors for their participation and generosity.
“We’re real happy with the way things turned out.”