The second coming of the Smyrna/Clayton Relay For Life is just a few weeks away, and the fundraiser is proving to be bigger and better than the inaugural event in 2012.

Relay For Life is an overnight event that raises awareness while raising money for the American Cancer Society. The fundraiser is Friday, May 17 at the Smyrna High School track. Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. with opening ceremonies starting at 7 p.m. Closing ceremonies will be at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 18.

Program organizer Staci Lewis said there are 39 teams currently registered; the goal was to have 25 teams. There are 329 participants in this year's Relay For Life event.

The group's goal this year is to raise $36,000 and they're already at $33,653.

"We would love to exceed that goal," Lewis said. "We can continue to fundraise until August 31, but we would love to hit $36,000 by May 17."

This year's theme is carnival. The scheduled activities for the night include the usual survivor lap and luminaria ceremony. The event also includes a relay funny car race, a dessert contest, an adult obstacle course, and more. Bring the kids with you too as there will be all sorts of activities for them including face painting, crafts and a scavenger hunt. There will be vendors donating a portion of their sales to Relay, music by SNS Entertainment, and a Zumba demonstration.

"We encourage everyone to come out and see what Relay is about," Lewis said.

Lewis said the response from the Smyrna and Clayton communities has been overwhelming.

"We feel like our event will be even better this year with some experience under our belts," Lewis said. "Our community has lost too many people recently and this has rallied the Smyrna/Clayton communities. Local businesses have also been amazing with their support."

There's still time for people to join teams or volunteer to help. Interested individuals can register at the event. Participants can register as an individual or join another team. Lewis, who is the captain of the North Smyrna Elementary team, said the team would love to have residents as a team member even if they're not associated with the school.

Survivors are also encouraged to register and come out, Lewis said. There is no fee for a survivor to register.

"We would love to have them come out and participate in the survivor lap and reception," Lewis said. "Join us to celebrate, remember and fight back."

Moreover, Lewis said the group always needs extra hands for setting up beforehand and breaking down after the fact. Set up will start at about 12 p.m. on May 17.

"Students can earn community service hours if they come out and help," Lewis said.

There have been several new groups to join the event this year, including the Town of Smyrna's "The Muskrateers." Team Captain Valerie Heritage said the town started out helping out with the logistics of the event and it snowballed from there.

"The Smyrna/Clayton area has a huge community more or less devoted to this," Heritage said. "We're just trying to make it that much better."

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