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Relay for Life teams to party all night

Thousands participate in Relay for Life on May 5-6 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.


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Gwinnett Relay for Life 2012

Thousands participate in Relay for Life on May 5-6 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.

Thousands participate in Relay for Life on May 5-6 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.

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File Photo Thousands participate in the "Purple Hand Dance" during last year's Gwinnett County Relay for Life at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville.

If You Go

What: Gwinnett County’s Relay for Life

When: 7 p.m. today to 6:30 a.m. Saturday

Where: Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville

Cost: Free admission

For more information: Visit www.relayforlife....

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Ready for an all-night party? That's right. Tonight is Relay for Life.

And this year, the Gwinnett chapter is celebrating its 20th anniversary without all of the bells and whistles. Instead of planning a fireworks display, helium balloons or crepe party streamers, the nonprofit wants folks to visit the event to help with the fight against cancer.

For those who have never been to the event, it is not a marathon, a race or even a track meet. It's an all-night walking event celebrating, honoring and remembering those who have been affected by cancer, plus a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

With hundreds of teams and tents present at the fairgrounds, there is plenty for attendees to do. There will be people selling food and drinks throughout the night, face painting, crazy hair designs, silent auctions, silly contests and more -- all in the name of raising money for the cause.

The ACS has also organized a few activities to keep the crowd awake through the night, including a digital scavenger hunt, Miss Relay Pageant -- for males only, a conga lap and bingo.

But not everything has been scheduled for goofy giggles. There are laps celebrating survivors and children, and a silent luminaria ceremony.

When the event was initially launched two decades ago, relayers were able to raise $119,926. By 1999, the group surpassed the $1 million mark. For several years, the Gwinnett chapter collected more than $2 million from the public. Last year, the group was able to donate $1.87 million to the American Cancer Society.

But where does the money go? Research, education and support, like patients receiving wigs at no cost, Look Good, Feel Better classes at both local hospitals and smoking cessation classes.

Parking fills up quickly, so try to arrive early.