The Franklin County Relay for Life will hold its official 2015 Kickoff at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Bass Room at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. The theme for this year’s event is “TV Land,” according to a news release from Franklin Savings Bank.

“We encourage anyone who thinks they might be interested in participating, as well as those who have participated before, to come to the Kickoff. You’ll find out what the Relay is all about and learn about major changes from last year to this year,” said Anna Lyon, publicity chairwoman for the event, in the release. “The biggest change this year is becoming a day event rather than an overnight event.”

This year’s event begins at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 30, and ends at 11:45 p.m. at the Farmington Fairgrounds.

“While there have been some fans of the overnight event, most people tell us they preferred a day-to-evening event,” said Lyon.

The overnight aspect used to be a requirement of the American Cancer Society but it decided to allow local Relays the opportunity to end their events at the end of the day. All the ceremonies will still take place; the opening ceremony, the Survivor and Caregiver laps and reception, Luminaria and closing. Many Relay events in Maine have opted to try this new model, including the Franklin County event.

“We think this will allow more people to be involved with Relay, participate in the activities that are going on, and not feel obligated to stay overnight,” said Mac Watts, specialist at the American Cancer Society who helps coordinate the Franklin County Relay. “Because we are starting a little earlier in the day, there will be more daylight hours and more chances for teams to hold activities, as well as for people to walk around and enjoy those activities.”

“So many people have heard about the Relay but don’t know what it’s all about. Perhaps they have been touched by cancer in their family and want to help fight it. Well, this is the perfect time to get your questions answered,” said Watts. “The kickoff is all about answering questions!”

The kickoff provides an opportunity to rally teams returning from previous events and introduce new teams to the event. “Anyone planning to have a team and anyone who thinks they are interested in participating but want more information should attend this event,” said Watts. “There will be refreshments and door prizes and ample opportunity to find out what it is all about.”

Having an event theme helps make the event fun. Teams generally incorporate the theme into their campsites and activities. “TV Land should provide a lot of rich material for our teams. We are really looking forward to see what they come up with,” said Lyon. “We all know from personal experience that there isn’t anything fun about cancer, but we are all about turning a negative into a positive.”

“At the Relay, we ‘celebrate, remember and fight back.’ We celebrate our survivors, we remember our loved ones who did not survive and we fight back for more and better treatments,” she added.

Organizers hope to raise about $43,000 at this year’s event and have 30 teams participate.

Some teams have already started forming and have registered online. You don’t have to go to the kickoff to register a team, but many people find it helpful. To register online, go to The local event also has a Facebook page at “Like” the page for updates on events and activities related to the Relay. Another change this year is the removal of the $10 registration fee. Teams would normally take that from the money they raised, but now it’s one less thing for them to worry about.

For more information, contact Watts at the ACS office in Topsham at 373-3708 or email [email protected].