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Miss Butler County Relay For Life set for July 18

After a delay due to COVID-19 restrictions, one of the area’s biggest fundraisers for the American Cancer Society in Butler County returns this weekend.

The 2020 Butler County Miss Relay for Life Pageant, sponsored by the Helping Hearts Relay 4 Life team, is set for this Saturday, July 18, at Greenville’s Ritz Theatre.  There are more than a dozen age groups allowing everyone from newborn to senior citizens to participate. Newborns through age nine compete in the afternoon, and contestants ages 10 and up take the stage on Saturday night.

Due to the pandemic guidelines, there are a few changes with this year’s program, says pageant director April Richey.

“Since the theater has to be sanitized between the two pageants and we have to limit the number of people in the dressing rooms downstairs, we have moved the afternoon pageant to an earlier time,” Richey explained. “Registration for ages newborn to nine starts at noon with the pageant kicking off at 1 p.m.  Registration time for ages 10 and up opens at 6 p.m. with the pageant starting at 7 p.m.”

There are other changes to meet with COVID-19 guidelines, Richey added.

“Temperatures have to be checked before entering the theater,” she said. “If you have a fever, you will not be allowed in and masks have to be worn any time you are not in your seat. So entering and exiting, going to the restroom, or at any time you are not in your seat your mask must be on.”

Theater seats should be occupied only in every other row and there will be one line to enter the theater and another line to exit.

“And any place you see hand sanitizer stations, please use them,” Richey said.

Richey has long been involved in organizing and hosting charity fundraisers. But the Relay For Life pageant is the one closest to her heart, she says.

“I have lost many family members and friends to cancer,” Richey explained. “My husband of 27 years was diagnosed with stage 3 Renal Cell Carcinoma Kidney Cancer. He fights everyday. He is my hero, and he is the reason I Relay. Butler County is my home, and it’s where I chose to raise my family. I have witnessed first hand what cancer can do to a person, to a family, to a community and to a town.”

While the Helping Hearts team can’t promise to stop cancer or find the cure, “ I know we can help someone better cope with it,” Richey said.

“This beauty pageant is about remembering, honoring and celebrating those who have lost their fight, those who are still fighting, and those who have won their battle with cancer. Each of the children, girls and ladies who walk that stage will do so in honor or remembrance of someone special to them. It’s also a great way for everyone to get dressed up and have fun while raising monies for a worthwhile cause.”

Registration fee is $35 per contestant with a deadline of July 15; optional categories are available at $5 each and Spirit of Relay votes are $1 each, with the participant garnering the most votes earning a crown and sash. Tickets will be $5 for ages newborn to nine and $10 for those ten and up.

Payment can be made using PayPal Friends and Family, cash and check and forms should be submitted via email to helping.hearts18@gmail.com or dropped off at Sonic of Greenville. Fees and forms can also be mailed to April Richey, 1521 Mill Creek Road, McKenzie, AL 36456. Visit “2020 Miss Butler County Relay For Life” on Facebook for more information.