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Purple decorations will descend on downtown

Color represents Relay for Life effort to raise awareness of all types of cancer

Downtown Newberg gets its fair share of decoration for the various holidays and happenings throughout the year, but few decorations are as meaningful as the purple ribbons, lights and banners that will line First Street for the coming few weeks.

This year marks the fifth annual Paint the Town Purple event, which has teams of volunteers take to the streets during First Friday Art Walk the first weekend of June, raising awareness for the Relay for Life event approaching in a few weeks.

“Purple is in honor of all survivors of cancer,” organizer Margie Abbott said.GARY ALLEN - Volunteers will traverse First Street this Friday to decorate the downtown area with purple ribbons, banners and more, to raise awareness for the coming Relay for Life event.

Each type of cancer is associated with a different color, for instance, breast cancer is represented by pink, prostate cancer by light blue, childhood cancer by gold and eye cancer by green, to name a few.

Purple represents awareness of all kinds of cancer, which is what Relay is all about.

Besides the teams that will work to decorate First Street, the organizers have spoken with local merchants about joining in the decorating effort.

“Our leadership team has been going around door to door, to make sure businesses are available and aware of Paint the Town Purple, and asking businesses to decorate with as many purple ribbons and lights as they are comfortable with,” Abbott said.

As of last week there were 40 teams signed up for Relay this year, and all were invited to participate in the First Friday event. But the effort is open to anyone, even those who are not on a team. In fact, opening Relay up to the community is a large goal for the organizers.

In her first year on the leadership team, Abbott said one public perception of Relay has surprised her.

“A lot of people didn’t realize it was a community event, they thought it was just for the teams,” she said.

That’s certainly not the case and the schedule for this year’s Relay event (which will be held on June 25-26) includes a number of activities and entertainment to the wider community, even those who are not walking with the Relay participants later this month.

This year’s theme is Hula for Hope, meaning there will be all sorts of Hawaiian-themed elements in the event, including Hawaiian food.

The theme continues into the overnight portion of Relay, as the campers are encouraged to decorate their campsites in a Hawaiian fashion.

The Relay event will kick off at 2 p.m. June 25 and wrap up the following morning at 8:30 a.m.

“The reason we relay all night is because cancer never sleeps and neither does the American Cancer Society,” Abbott said.

Participants in Paint the Town Purple are invited to meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Hopp Insurance parking lot, and to walk with the group down to Nap’s Thriftway. The group will decorate both sides of First Street.

For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org/newbergor.