PARKERSBURG - More than 1,000 people were on hand Friday for the opening night of the 20th annual Relay for Life of Wood County at Parkersburg City Park.
Susie Warman, community manager for the American Cancer Society, said 1,100 people signed up by late Friday to participate in the 20th annual event.
Many more were expected to sign up at City Park prior to the start of the opening ceremony on Friday evening.
Will Watson of the Parkersburg High School Key Club, Stephanie Rader, Valerie Gates and Katie Readcliff of the Edison Builders Club, left to right, pass out sand to students as Ava Grady of the Hamilton Builders Club puts a lumanary in place Friday before the start of the Wood County Relay for Life in Parkersburg's City Park. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
Parkersburg High School freshman Darla Mays holds the traditional first lap sign for the Survivors Lap Friday at the Wood County Relay for Life. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
"This is a pretty good turnout, it's even with past years," she said. "We have a lot of active participants which is great, and active teams, along with a lot of returning teams, but we have a lot of brand new teams."
In 2012, Warman said 108 teams registered but not all participated in the Relay.
"This year we have 100 registered and many people who are participating individually," she said.
As of 8 p.m. Friday, Warman said the Relay had raised $189,596 and the fundraising goal for 2013 is $365,000.
"We do a lot of fundraising during the night of Relay," she said.
For the first time, the Wood County Relay had four grand marshals, all from the same family. The Boso family, of Lubeck, are all cancer survivors. Warman said Roy Boso was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1995; his wife, Betty, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004; their daughter, Sharon Perdue, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1997; and their son, Larry, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1982.
Betty Boso said she was surprised the entire family was asked to lead the first two laps as grand marshals.
"It was unbelievable," she said. "With so many people who have suffered more than I have, we just want to help instill a little bit of hope for those who are going through this."
Boso said the family has walked with teams and raised money for the cancer society over the years.
"We aren't with a team right now," she said. "Years ago the youth at our church had a team and I remember camping here in a tent during Relay, but that was many years ago."
The Relay featured a night-long series of activities and entertainment at the City Park Pavilion and the main stage area. Some of the remain activities this morning include:
* 6:30-8 a.m.: Breakfast (Pavilion)
* 7 a.m.: The New Life Singers (Main Stage)
* 8 a.m.: Emily Emerick (Main Stage)
* 9 a.m.: Amanda and Rebecca Sams (Main Stage)
* 10 a.m.: Colten Settle (Main Stage); Last hour of lap counting
* 11 a.m.: Plan B (Main Stage)
* 11:30 a.m.: "Celebration Lap" Everyone walks until Closing Ceremony
* Noon: Closing Ceremony (Main Stage)