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‘Spring Fling’ at River Park to benefit Relay for Life




With dogwoods and redbuds in full bloom, weeping willows hanging with lush young leaves and spring flowers everywhere, it’s time to get out of doors and welcome the new festival season.

On Saturday, May 9, River Park in Whitesburg will host a new festival which already promises to become an annual event. The first ever ‘Spring Fling’ was organized by Friends of Letcher County in partnership with the Letcher County Relay for Life Committee in cooperation with the City of Whitesburg to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The event will get underway at about 10 a.m. and continue to around 6 p.m. There will be live music on the stage all day by musicians who have graciously agreed to ‘sing for their dinner.’ The sound system will be provided by Roy Johnson of Jackhorn. Several artisans will have handmade arts and crafts for sale and numerous relay teams will have novelty items for sale. There will be inflatables and pony rides for the kids. Food booths will be set up to sell hot-dogs, hamburgers, Polish sausages, barbecue sandwiches and dinners and a variety of cakes, candies and pies.

Among the musicians already booked to perform are The Cowan Creek Youth String Band, Four by Grace, gospel singers, Tommy Shortt, Dawson Creek, Duelin’ Strings, The Trivette Brothers and others to be announced. The exciting new group known as Coal Town will headline the event beginning about 5:00. The County Gentleman from WMMT radio in Whitesburg will be the master of ceremonies. Willard Hall of WMMT radio, who is a cancer survivor, will also be there as an official spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.

The Letcher County Relay for Life Committee is led by Chairwoman Alberta Perry. There are more than 25 relay teams throughout the county who have a friendly competition each year to raise money for cancer research. Many of those teams will participate in the ‘Spring Fling’.

“For several years our goal has been to raise $100,000 in Letcher County”, said Alberta. “We have been close several times but we have never reached that magic number; maybe we will this year. One of the best fund-raisers we ever had was with Myrtle the Cow. Last year we got a life-size purple cow and raised thousands of dollars with her.

“Folks with a good sense of humor paid a $10 fee to have the cow delivered to a friend’s house then that person had to pay another $10 to get rid of it. For businesses the price is $20. We had a lot of fun and raised a lot of money but it nearly wore us out hauling Myrtle all over Letcher County in the bed of a pickup truck. Anyway, Myrtle will be back again this year beginning May 1 and continuing through June 1.

“On June 5 we will have our 12-hour relay (walkathon) at River Park,” continued Alberta. “This is an overnight event supporting the fact that ‘cancer never sleeps’. All of the relay teams will come together and alternately walk around the track. Each participant will have a sponsor who pays for them to walk. This is a good fund-raiser and a good event to build camaraderie among teams as we close out the 2009 season.”

For additional information about this event, call Alberta Perry at 855-7962 or one of these Friends of Letcher County members, Bessie Shepherd at 633-9123, Doris Adams at 632-3777 or Ked Sanders at 832-4122.


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