Manatee weather to shine Sunday for rescheduled Relays For Life

Herald Staff ReportersMay 4, 2014 

Staff Photographer

Drops of rainwater cling to a tree as heavy rains begin to subside on Saturday afternoon. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald


MANATEE -- Jennifer Milley and her crew of Lakewood Ranch Relay for Life volunteers got shut down Saturday due to relentless rain, but, undaunted, they've rescheduled their event from noon till 10 p.m. Sunday at the Lakewood Ranch YMCA.

"We want to let people know that we are still going to be out here fighting against cancer," Milley said of her American Cancer Society fighters. "Instead of an 18-hour event, it will be 10 hours on Sunday."

Thanks to some sunny news from the National Weather Service in Ruskin, both the Lakewood Ranch Relay for Life and the likewise rescheduled Bradenton Relay for Life at G.T. Bray park should have clear sailing Sunday.

"Sunday will be a beautiful day," said Eric Oglesby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The Bradenton Relay will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday and go until 10 p.m.

The wet weather Saturday also forced the cancellation of Anna Maria Island's fourth annual Food and Wine on Pine.

The upscale art and culinary event was slated to serve food and wine from 27 restaurants on Anna Maria Island and beyond as local artists displayed their work. Organizers said it will be too difficult to work out the logistics for a make-up date and instead hope to hold it again next year.

The Bradenton Marauders' doubleheader against the St. Lucie Mets went on as sched

uled Saturday night, but the team was forced to cancel a post-game fireworks show as part of Bright House Network Customer Appreciation Night. A rescheduled date will be announced later.

It was raining so hard Friday and Saturday that Milley and her crew couldn't even finish putting up signs to let people know where to park.

The National Weather Service in Ruskin reported an average total of 2.4 inches of rain for Manatee County on Friday and Saturday, Oglesby said.

But an unofficial report was sent in of 6.76 inches Friday and Saturday at a measuring station one mile west northwest of Bradenton, Oglesby added.

The higher than normal totals for May were the result of a stationary boundary across the area that stalled out and an upper level disturbance that rode over the boundary and triggered numerous showers and rain across the area, Oglesby said.

But Sunday will feature no rain, highs in the mid 80s and lows in the 60s.

"On Sunday, the skies will be clearing and we will have highs in the mid-80s and lows in the 60s," Oglesby added. "The rest of the week will be pretty much the same type of weather, with highs in the high 80s and lows in the 60s."

Fortunately, vendors were able to come back Sunday to Lakewood Ranch and G.T. Bray Park for the two Relays, said Jeana Schmidt , Senior Representative for Community Engagement for the American Cancer Society.

"Our volunteers worked for a year planning these events," Schmidt said. "We are excited for Sunday."

Courtney Oelberg, a cancer survivor and Activities Chair for the Lakewood Ranch Relay for Life, said shutting things down Friday and Saturday was the right decision.

"I think it's better not to put people in the position where they have to be in weather like that," Oelberg said. "It won't be all night, but it will still be the same activities and lots of fun."

An opening ceremony will kick off each Relay with a presentation from a young cancer survivor to inspire hope. Survivors and caregivers of cancer patients will each do a celebratory lap around the field, followed by a lighting ceremony.

In Parrish, the inaugural Music by the River at Fort Hamer Park was rained out Saturday. Organizers have rescheduled the free concert with Kim Betts and the Gamble Creek Band, JD and Zetha Lewis, the Buffalo Creek Middle School Jazz Band and cowboy poet Les McDowell for 2-4 p.m. May 10.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond

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