PITTSFIELD — The county's Relay for Life will return to the Berkshires' geographic center, organizers announced this week.
It's hoped that the move will help more of the county get involved in the annual fundraiser for cancer research, said Ray Gardino, event coordinator for Relay for Life of Berkshire County.
"We're excited about it, and we're really hoping we're going to get the people from Pittsfield that haven't come in a number of years," Gardino said.
About 11 years ago, event organizers moved the event from Burbank Park in Pittsfield to Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, Gardino said, amid security concerns with the public site. For this year's event, Guardian Life on South Street offered up its southern parking lot.
The property is private — smoking and drinking at Burbank Park marred the event in earlier years, Gardino said — and better suited than the park for sound equipment.
This year's event kicks off June 26 and runs into the next day. Its theme will be "Peace, Love and Relay." There previously had been a Relay for Life in the northern part of the county, Gardino said, but that has since stopped.
Last year's relay in Great Barrington raised $85,000 for the American Cancer Society, he said, which was a notable decline from the previous year's event, which raised more than $90,000.
"We're doing this because, over the last couple of years, there's been a decline in attendance," he said.
The money supports research grants and other initiatives at the American Cancer Society, he said.
Monument Mountain has been good to the organizers, he said, and the high school sits on a beautiful site. He called the decision to move a difficult one.
"We're trying to grow the relay, and we were given an opportunity which, I think, is going to be unique," Gardino said. "And I'm hopeful it's going to be successful."
Amanda Drane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.