For the third year in a row, the playing fields at the Yates Community Center on North Main Street in Penn Yan will host the Hope Walk of Yates County Saturday, Aug. 25 as a fundraising relay walk for cancer patient support. Teams expect to exceed last year’s total of over $37,000, with all of the proceeds to benefit Yates County residents.

There is still time to form or join a team and raise funds for Hope Walk of Yates County before the Aug. 25 event. Teams can be admitted up to the day of the walk, and contributions to the cancer charity are always welcome. To sign up a team, become a sponsor, contribute, buy a Hope Bag lantern for $5, or get more information, visit www.HopeWalkofYatesCounty.org or call 607-283-HOPE (4673). 

This year, there are a few tweaks to the event that takes place at the Yates Community Center at 467 North Main St., Penn Yan. Based on feedback from the participants, many with children on family teams, the time has been adjusted to run from 3 to 11 p.m., with the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. and the Survivors’ Lap at 6 p.m., followed by a special dinner provided by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. The Hope Bag lantern lighting will be at 10 p.m.

Hope Walk organizer Dawn Shipman urges cancer survivors to come even just for the ceremony and the dinner, for the community to know how large the impact of cancer is in Yates County. A cancer survivor herself, Shipman encourages people to, “Just come drop in to view what we’re doing.” New this year for the survivors’ ceremony will be guest speaker Jackie Shrader, a nurse and counselor who will speak on her own experience defeating breast and oral cancer. 

As solemn as the cause may be, the atmosphere of the Hope Walk is an energetic family party crossed with a carnival, with many teams bringing food and beverages, along with some vendors providing a variety of choices. Local celebrities will be offering people the chance to soak them in the dunking booth to raise funds. Bands will be playing to keep spirits dancing, including Jo-Hannah Reynolds, Outcross, and The No Name Band. There will also be a bounce house and family oriented children’s activities.

Brightly decorated fund-raising toilets are displayed at local merchants, and the roaming yard flamingoes indicate people who have been “flocked” to make a donation and name the next victim of the pink pack. Dump your change when you see a Hope Walk cash commode, or mail your donation to Hope Walk of Yates County, P.O. Box 174, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527 to head off any flamingo invasions at your house!