Sunday, July 13, 2014

Relay for Life celebrates fall

Festival raises money to be donated at event in May

October 19. 2013 11:09PM

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WRIGHT TWP. — Regina Kloeker has picked up the banner for cancer patients in Mountain Top. As this year’s chairwoman of the Mountain Top Relay For Life, Kloeker is leading the charge against the disease that has taken three of her loved ones’ lives.

Kloeker’s mother died four years ago from a rare form of brain cancer. Her grandmother was afflicted by the same illness. Her cousin died from complications with gall bladder cancer, and now she’s leading the group reputed for having raised nearly $1 million for the American Cancer Society’s research and support initiatives.

Kloeker pulled her wool sweater tight around her shoulders to keep out chilly gusts Saturday at the Relay’s first Fall Festival in the Mountain Top Area Little League Complex along Alberdeen Road. Around her, a few tables filled the flea market scene.

Kloeker joined the Relay committee in 2012 and took the reigns as chairwoman this year. She proposed a flea market for competing relay teams to use for their fundraising efforts.Vendors paid $10 to set up shop and sell their wares. Their entry money was spread across the competing teams to add to their total donated cash come race day in May next year.

Glenn and Gerri Francisco of Shickshinny brought a fine showing of handmade birdhouses they built together, with a few interesting varieties. Glenn, who works at Cornell Ironworks in Wright Township, was invited to sell their birdhouses and feeders by members of Cornell’s relay team.

One tall birdhouse, the couple explained, is designed to attract butteflies. With narrow entry slits, butterflies roost inside at night clinging to a single post that runs from top to bottom. He designs his birdhouses to attract different species with unique features: like one deep birdhouse filled halfway with sawdust. Glenn said woodpeckers prefer nesting in this type.

Connie Davis stood at Cornell’s relay booth selling homemade fudge. She said her company’s relay team started only last year and its 30 members raised about $900 for the cause. They’re aiming higher next year.

Kloeker blamed first-timers’ bad luck for the light showing. She said the group did not get the word out soon enough because of administrative details. Regardless, she was pleased with those who showed up, she said.

“I didn’t know what to expect … I was very impressed by the turnout of vendors and people that did come out,” Kloeker said.

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