Before this year’s Relay for Life of Franklin County kicks off Friday night, June 8, organizers are planning several events leading up to the overnight Relay.

This is the first year that organizers are holding a Relay week, which is designed to raise awareness and build excitement for the event that benefits the American Cancer Society.

The week starts Sunday, June 3, with a dinner for cancer survivors at Our Lady of Lourdes, Washington.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m., but the dinner is by invitation only, said Karla Frank, Relay chair. People may call Krista Aholt at 636-358-9364 for more information.

On Monday, June 4, there will be a Relay team meeting at 5 p.m. at the Washington Fairgrounds.

A committee and team captains fun night will take place Tuesday, June 5, from 5-9 p.m. at Los Cabos, Washington. During the night people will have a chance to meet with this year’s Relay committee.

Also during the night, a dine to donate event to benefit Relay for Life will take place. Los Cabos will donate 15 percent of all food bills during that time to Relay.

Corporate night, an event to thank the corporate sponsors of Relay, will be held Wednesday, June 6. The event will start at 5 p.m. at Park View Hall, Washington.

On Thursday, June 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Relay teams and participants can pick up last-minute information, ask questions and turn in paperwork at Park View Hall.

The 2012 Relay will begin Friday, June 8, at 6 p.m. at the fairgrounds and will run overnight through Saturday, June 9, at 6 a.m.

The 2012 Relay theme is “There’s No Place Like HOPE.” The fairgrounds will be decorated to look like scenes from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Frank’s co-chair for the event is Wendy Wildberger, cancer survivor and past Franklin County Hero of Hope.

Frank said so far 63 teams have signed up this year. There were 54 teams that signed up in 2011.

This year, the countywide Relay has a goal to raise $160,000, which is less than the 2011 goal. Frank said the goal is set by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

While Frank didn’t have exact totals raised so far, she said fundraising efforts have been going well this year.

Approximately $162,000 was raised from the 2011 Relay in Franklin County.

Frank reminded people that luminaria bags, which honor cancer survivors and those who passed away from cancer, are still for sale.

The luminaria bags will be placed around the fairgrounds the night of Relay.

Each luminaria costs $5 and can be purchased by calling Frank at 636-667-0088 or at