Costumes reign again in annual cancer benefit

Relay for Life enjoys support for fourth year

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
Shrek and Fiona sightings along with a legion of witches and cat people were all part of the fun at the Hempstead Relay for Life’s Fourth Annual Celebrity Waiter event last Friday night at Hempstead Hall.
Two local football games and rain not withstanding, the Celebrity Waiter night saw its us usual crowd of 200 people enjoy three-hours of singing, auctioning, and being served dinner by a collection of devils, baseball players, and Harry Potter students.
In a statement Sunday, Racheal Cuellar, the event’s coordinator, said “We had close to 200 people, and at the end we made $7579.00 for the fight against cancer. It was a great night as always we can never do these fundraisers without the help of the amazing people in the community.”
Cuellar had her own fun at the event as principal emcee dressed up as a dapper 2018 version of Mary Poppins, complete with a much-needed magic umbrella. With less pronounced make-up, however, Cuellar would have been perfectly normal in a chic urban look ensemble.
Likewise, Clay Black, dressed authentically as a New York Yankee, donning the classic Bronx away uniform, looked like he just came off the airplane into Hope as the real-life Yankees had just lost to the Red Sox in Boston the division series.
But other participants were both creative and realistic in their own ways, but were definitely not real world characters, the prime example being the night’s overall costume winner, Fiona, who was dressed and painted with such detail that she literally brought the animation to life.
After playing up the “1980s” in 2017, the 2018 event theme was “Broadway Musicals,” which may have been a little more tame and limiting than the wild and wide-ranging popular culture of the 1980’s.
With slightly fewer Celebrity tables this year, but with more individual survivors and diners attending, the groups played up a series of well-known Broadway musical plays, although many were just as well-known as popular movies on the big screen. The teams, themes and tables seen, included:
• CPS (Phantom of the Opera) with Mary Storey and Pam Lewallen
• Blonde Ambition & Tailgaters (Hocus Pocus) with Brittany Lewis, Brooke Moten, Sharon Caldwell and Summer Powell
• Lazy W (Cats) with Alejandra Mendoza, Kaye and Maye Cheatham
• Purtle Construction (Wicked) with Cyndie McMahen and Jessica Caraway
• Southern Bakeries (Shrek The Musical) with Marshall Tullos and Gayla McCoy
• Heather Manor (Damn Yankees) with Clay Black and Tyrone Lacy
• Stage (Harry Potter) with Ross Norman
• Arkansas CAMA Technology (Grease) with Cindy Martin
• Farmers Bank & Trust (Beetle Juice) with Karsyn Powell
• UAHT (Devil Wears Prada) with Jannie Moten, Allen Flowers and Terra Newsom
On Sunday, Cuellar said, “I would love to hear the feedback, and I know how excited many are for next year. We’ve already picked a date now just working on a theme.”
Cuellar, along with Jessie Lewis, have long been associated in Hempstead County as the community’s leaders of the local Relay for Life. Lewis, who recently stepped down as the overall leader of the Hempstead Relay for Life organization, also participated Friday night, dressed in pink as Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.
“We have been together for ten years raising money to fight cancer; Jessie has been a great partner, a great leader and a great friend,” Cuellar said Friday night prior to the event.

See more exclusive photos from the event on SWARK Today’s Facebook page.

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