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DL will Paint the Town Purple

Purple bows, purple streamers, purple balloons…American Cancer Society volunteers in Detroit Lakes are hoping to see the downtown district turn into a veritable sea of purple this week, in anticipation of Friday night’s Relay for Life fundraising event.

The local chapter of ACS is officially launching its “Paint the Town Purple” promotional campaign on Monday.

Downtown businesses and shop owners have been invited to decorate their storefronts in various shades and textures of purple.

Free “Paint the Town Purple” supply kits are available at the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce. The kits include a Relay for Life promotional poster, pull-string bow, crepe paper streamers, balloons and even a purple tablecloth.

“You can be as creative as you want,” said 2013 Becker County Relay for Life chair Marjorie Berg. “Even if you don’t have a storefront, use sidewalk chalk, have your employees dress up in purple, put out yard signs — anything you can imagine.”

Even if they choose not to use the free promotional kits, ACS volunteers are asking that participants contact one of them to let them know they are taking part in the campaign, Berg added.

“Entries will be judged on Tuesday, July 9, and prizes will be awarded,” she explained. “So you need to let us know if you want to be part of the contest.”

Though there is a friendly competition involved, the main purpose of the “Paint the Town Purple” campaign is to advertise Friday’s upcoming Relay for Life, and its uplifting message.

“Purple is the color of hope,” Berg explained.

Each year’s Relay for Life brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, churches and other faith-based organizations, all with the same goal — to celebrate the lives of those who have had or are living with cancer, remember those loved ones who have been lost to the disease, and to join together in the fight to stamp out “The Big C” in all its forms.

This year’s Becker County Relay for Life will take place at the Detroit Lakes High School track on Friday, July 12.

The festivities begin with a community supper and silent auction from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m., the lighting of the luminaries at 10 p.m., a “fight back” ceremony at midnight, and the closing ceremony at 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 13.

The Relay itself will officially begin with the “Survivor’s Walk” at 7:30 p.m., led by 2013 Relay for Life torchbearer Steven Baukol of Detroit Lakes, who is living with multiple myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer.

The Relay will continue throughout the night, with each team asked to have at least one of its members out on the track at all times.

Luminaries will be available from ACS volunteers any time this week, or in advance of Friday’s ceremonies at the track; they can be decorated in memory or in honor of a loved one who is living with, or was lost to the disease.

Teams that formed late, but would still like to participate in the Relay itself are also encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

All monies raised from the Relay — both by advance fundraising and creative fundraisers held by the participating teams during the event — will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

In addition to life saving research, education and advocacy activities, the American Cancer Society provided a total of 1,144 patient-related services to the residents of Becker County in 2012, according to a press release issued on Friday.

For more information about the Relay For Life or Paint the Town Purple, contact Marjorie Berg at 218-841-5173 or visit

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454