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Estacada Festival of Hope, Bark for Life events will take place July 14 at Timber Park

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BRANDE MILTENBERGER - During the annual Bark for Life event, both people and canines come together to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.

This year's Estacada Relay for Life efforts will soon culminate in the annual Festival of Hope.

The Relay for Life group has spent many months fundraising for the American Cancer Society, and the upcoming gathering will spread awareness of the disease, celebrate those who have survived and honor those who have not.

The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 14 at Timber Park, 30878 N.W. Evergreen Way. The group's Bark for Life celebration will also take place that morning at the park.

After an opening ceremony, the Festival of Hope's relay will start with a lap in which survivors celebrate their victory over cancer. Walks will continue throughout the day and will feature a variety of themes, including all girls, participants who are wearing crazy socks and participants who are wearing funny hats.

There will be many opportunities to honor those who have battled cancer, including a luminary ceremony. Participants create paper bags with messages and pictures of their loved ones, which are set around the track and illuminated with glow sticks. Then, there is a walk in silence to honor those whose lives have been touched by the disease.

For Angela Loftin, a member of the Estacada Relay for Life group, this is one of the most meaningful parts of the day.

"It's a way to get to know your neighbors and your community, and what everyone is going through," she said.

Attendees will also be able to release a balloon in honor of those who have fought cancer. The balloons will be available for $1 each.

The festival will feature several other elements, including vendors, food, a bounce house, a dunk tank and music.

Several hundred people typically attend, Loftin said.

This year, the Estacada Relay for Life group has raised money for the American Cancer Society through spaghetti dinners, karaoke nights and other events. Usually,

they raise around $25,000 annually.

Loftin appreciates the community aspect of the organization.

"I've found a whole new group of awesome people to share things in common with. You know what everyone is going through," she said. "It's not just (raising money) to find a cure. It's helping people get through it."

She praised the Estacada community for their willingness to embrace the cause.

"Everybody donates and helps us. The community support is awesome," she said.

Group will host Bark for Life

Furry friends and their humans will soon gather to help raise funds for cancer at Estacada's annual Bark for Life event.

"Dog is man's best friend, and it also helps us raise money," said Angela Loftin, a member of Estacada Relay for Life, the group that organizes the gathering.

Bark for Life will give attendees the opportunity to walk with their dogs, participate in raffles and connect with trainers. There will also be a scavenger hunt. The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 14 at Timber Park, 30878 N.W. Evergreen Way.

There is a $5 registration fee per dog, which includes a bandanna, goodie bag and raffle ticket.

Loftin said the best part of Bark for Life is "getting to share dogs and love for our pets."

"They are part of our family," she said.

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