Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

Downtown rocked by Relay social event

June 8, 2006

Levi Demuth didn't have a track in front of him Saturday night, but it didn't matter.

The 10-year-old cancer survivor, known for his spirited speeches in the past at Eudora's American Cancer Society's Relay For Life events, found an outlet for his energy by tossing beanbags through a plastic tic-tac-toe game.

Earlier, while munching on food from Cutter's Smokehouse with his family, he didn't know what to think of his surroundings.

But as he zinged another bag at the toy ---- creating three Xs in a row ---- he decided what he thought of the evening.

"It's fun," Levi said.

The game was part of a block party thrown downtown by former organizers of the Relay For Life in Eudora.

"It's relaxing," Levi's mom, Lisa Demuth, said.

Earlier in the year, the Relay For Life committee decided not to have a full-scale Relay in Eudora, opting to join with the June 16 and 17 Relay in Baldwin City.

So as to not leave the community high and dry, Marilyn Laws Porter led an effort with the Eudora City Council and Douglas County to close a block of Main Street between Seventh and Eighth streets for the evening. She did it to give citizens a chance to kickback, relax and still participate in the fund-raising effort.

And kickback they did.

"I thought it was a small crowd, but I thought we had a great time. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves," Laws Porter said.

The evening drew people in, despite baseball games and other events happening in the area.

Cutter's provided food and volunteers provided service to the attendees.

In all, the party raised $460 for local teams.

"Even though it was a small crowd we had a good time. I think it was a celebration of our years past and I think it was great," Laws Porter said.

In addition to the food, participants had the option of buying luminaries for those lost to cancer and in honor of those still fighting the disease.

It was also a chance for current survivors to gather close to home.

On a table with a purple tablecloth and flanked by Relay For Life balloons, Judi O'Grady laid out examples of the luminaries, each dedicated to her late daughter, Brooke.

She also had several photo albums with pictures from past Eudora Relays.

She appreciated Saturday's event.

"I think it's still something we can do," O'Grady said.

On another table, event-goers had a chance to look through books donated by Laws Porter.

The book sale served as another fund-raiser for the Baldwin-bound teams.

Throughout the evening Daren Pippert played CDs ranging from such block party standards as "Funky Town" ---- recorded by one of Pippert's old bands ---- to Johnny Cash.

In between songs, Pippert read trivia questions aimed toward both children and adults.

Whenever he directed a question to the children, they would swarm around him to be the first to answer and win a prize. When not being questioned, the children played games or ran around with balloons.

Although the atmosphere was relaxed and playful, one theme kept repeating.

"Hopefully next year someone can step up (to organize the Relay For Life)," O'Grady said.

After playing another round of beanbag tic-tac-toe, Levi had a similar idea.

It would be nice to bring back the Relay For Life, he said.

"You can get much more exercise," Levi said.

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