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Relay for Life heads to Kingston

KINGSTON — Pack up the sweatpants, sports drinks, luminarias and the special survivors T-shirts and look out Kingston Junior High School because North Kitsap Relay for Life is walking to Kingston this summer.

Due to plans that the field at North Kitsap Stadium will be replaced with turf this summer, at the time when NK Relay for Life usually utilizes the track for the fund raiser, event organizers decided moving would be the best possible option.

“It was either this choice or rescheduling,” said NK Relay for Life public relations and entertainment chairwoman Shelly Gueldenhaar. The 24-hour event would have had to wait until August or even September to use the stadium. Not wanting to do so, organizers began seeking a round venue. They didn’t have to look far.

“One of the continuing concerns at (North Kitsap High School) is the neighbors,” said NK Relay for Life chairman Mel Bird. “When you’re awake at 0-dark-hundred, you have to do things to keep motivated. In order to do that we make some noise with our speaker system.”

Though the group has tried to keep it down, there had been issues with neighbors in the past, and last year Bird tried to have the Poulsbo City Council tweak the noise ordinance for the night of the event. KJH is surrounded by less neighbors, he said, though the midnight festivities will still be as quiet as possible.

About 30 teams have already signed up, said NK Relay for Life team development chairwoman Kimberly Demming. They should all be comfortable at KJH, and she said many more teams will sign up before the July 14 relay. The one downside to using the junior high track is the lack of bleachers and lights, Gueldenhaar said.

Already, they are planning to use generators to power lights for the night. She said the organizers are positive participants will be set for the evening portion of the fund raiser.

Last year’s NK Relay for Life walked in $135,000, surpassing its financial goal, and the group is hoping to beat the record again with $150,000 this year.

“We’re really looking forward to having the Relay for Life in Kingston,” Bird said. “We’re hoping to get a lot more involvement from the community up there.”

The NK Relay for Life will be selling luminarias today and tomorrow and May 19-20 at the Kingston Albertsons. Anyone interested in organizing a team can contact Demming at (360) 271-5336.

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