Organizers of the Wadena County Relay for Life event scheduled for this Friday, Aug. 9, are hoping to make this year's event a more joyous occasion for the many who have had enough somber days dealing with cancer.

"Cancer makes everything crappy, so why not bring some life into and bring some hope to people," co-chair of the event Dinah Russo said.

Well aware of the sadness cancer can bring, organizers amped up fun activities this year to offer time for remembrance and laughter. The event starts out with activities for all ages at 5 p.m. and continues on until midnight at Sunnybrook Park campground.

Co-chairs of the event this year, Travis Allen and Russo, are excited for a couple new events. Russo is bringing in such activities as a dunk tank featuring "The Merickel Workers" as a Relay for Life fundraiser. The community is welcome to come out and dunk some of your favorite Merickel Lumber/Ace Hardware workers from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. There's expected to be 15 workers in need of a dunking.

Allen has been leading organizing a corn hole tournament fundraiser that goes from 5 - 7 p.m. Registration starts at 4:30 p.m.

You'll also hear the stories of cancer's impact in an "Evening of Hope" program scheduled at 7 p.m. This program includes live music and stories from those impacted, including keynote speaker Bill Hess. A mainstay of the event includes the releasing of the doves and walking the path around the park that's lined with luminaries. The long line of bags, each decorated with names of loved ones, are a sign of cancer's impact on the area communities. For many this can be a somber walk, but many choose to celebrate the lives of those lost or those that are still in the fight. Russo said attendees can still buy luminaries for $5 at Merickel's in Wadena.

Russo reminds attendees that those unable to walk the path, can take advantage of the golf carts up for use thanks to Kals Kars of Wadena.

Of course attendees can plan to eat at the event with hot dogs, hamburgers and root beer floats as part of the offering. Wadena business Canoe Paddle Kettle Corn will also be on site offering up their signature kettle corn as a fundraising offering. You can also expect a silent auction that adds another aspect to the fundraising efforts.

The funds raised from this event are going to benefit the American Cancer Society. While the group raised nearly $18,000 last year, they have a goal of $20,000 this year.

For more information about the event visit or call 218-847-0408. If you have questions about how you can get involved, look for the co-chairs at the event. Russo plans to be sporting a purple tutu. And you'll have to come see if Allen will try one on as well.