The community will celebrate life at the 20th annual Festival of Hope event on Saturday, June 18 at the Scotts Bluff County Events Center in Mitchell.
Amber Trenkle, who has volunteered at the Festival of Hope for more than 10 years, said this year’s event will resemble events held before COVID.
“Two years ago we had to cancel with COVID, and last year we did kind of a shortened version,” Trenkle said. “This will be our first year back in full swing with pretty much the same schedule we’ve had in the past.”
Festival of Hope Program
|Silent auction||7 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.|
|Knights of Columbus lunch ($5)||7 a.m. to 10 a.m.|
|5K Run/Walk||7:30 a.m.|
|Fun races for kids||8:30 am|
|Variety of activities||8 a.m. to 2 p.m.|
|Penny Carnival||9 a.m. to 2 p.m.|
|Entertainment provided by local artists||9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.|
|Conclusion of the silent auction||1:45 p.m. to 2 p.m.|
|Thanks/Hope Awards||1:45 p.m. to 2 p.m.|
|Live auction, followed by the reading of names and the release of butterflies||About. 2 p.m.|
The day begins with the 5k run/walk at 7:30 a.m., followed by the fun run for the kids at 8:30 a.m. The public can pre-register online until June 15. People can sign up on race morning, but Trenkle said sometimes T-shirt sizes aren’t guaranteed.
Trenkle said something special this year is a Festival of Hope t-shirt quilt made for nonprofits, featuring shirts from all 20 years.
The event will also feature several performances, including Colorado river dancers, members of the Tabor Dance Academy, Scottsbluff High School practice and cheer squads, and members of Theater West.
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The public will also be able to purchase butterflies for $10, which will be displayed on the Wall of Hope. The last day to buy a butterfly is June 15.
“Once they buy the butterflies, we print the names,” Trenkle said. “If they are still with us, we put their name on it and they can decorate them at the event, if they wish. If we lost them to cancer, then we’ll have a little cross on the butterfly.
Buying a butterfly or donating to the Festival of Hope helps the nonprofit support families with treatment-related expenses not covered by insurance.
“Everyone is struggling in many ways with the economy and COVID, so these patients are impacted by this diagnosis and it’s a huge financial burden on them and a heavy burden on their family,” she said. “We try to help everyone who comes to us in one way or another. Ten dollars can go towards a gas card to help them get treatment, rent, pay for their car.
Trenkle shared the Native American legend of the butterfly, which inspires the release of live butterflies at the end of the event. They will read the names on the Wall of Hope before the exit.
“It’s the part of every year that I look forward to,” she said. “If someone wishes for a wish to come true, he must first catch a butterfly and whisper this wish to it. Since the butterfly makes no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone except the great spirit who hears and sees everything…. By making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be carried away into the heavens.
The event provides time for people to reflect and celebrate those who struggle and have been lost to cancer.
“It’s a day when we come together, celebrate life and encourage those who are still fighting to keep fighting,” she said. “Overall, I think it’s just a special day for us to celebrate more than anything.”
Since the Festival of Hope’s inception, the nonprofit organization has distributed approximately $3.3 million to patients and their families, as of April 2022. The money raised can help with rent, mileage for treatment, utility bills, car payments, groceries and other things to help ease the burden during their cancer treatment and care.
Ahead of this year’s Festival of Hope, board members hosted a free community concert for the 20th annual event, to be held on Sunday, June 12 at 6 p.m. at the Five Rocks Amphitheater in Gering. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
People will be able to enjoy sandwiches, brats and sloppy Joe hot dogs, with food donated by Panhandle Coop and prepared by Festival of Hope volunteers. Other concessions, such as soft drinks and other treats, will also be available for sale. In the concessions area and a t-shirt stand, donations will be accepted for the Festival of Hope.
Anyone who is battling cancer or knows someone who is battling and may need financial support can fill out an application on the Festival of Hope website.
For more information about the Festival of Hope or to register for an event, visit http://www.festivalofhope.net/.