A heart-tugging ceremony and light-hearted rivalry will highlight the American Cancer Society's 24-hour Relay for Life this weekend.

Based on the number of teams registered, the fifth annual Relay for Life is expected to raise some $150,000 for the fight against cancer, up from $130,000 last year.

The public is encouraged to root for walkers, buy a meal and take part in the activities surrounding the walk.

It all starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Sonora High School's Dunlavy Field off North Washington Street. The opening lap around the field will be reserved for cancer survivors.

"Airplanes will fly over in honor of those who have lost their battles with cancer," said Leah Nicolini, chairwoman of the event. "Veterans of Foreign Wars will present the colors, and the Summerville High School 'Jazz at 8' choir will sing the National Anthem."

She said 60 white doves donated by Angel Wings of Angels Camp will be released to signify hope after the cancer survivors have completed their lap.

Then the teams will begin their 24-hour relay. At least one member of each team is required to be walking laps around the track at all times during the relay.

So far, 51 teams have registered, compared to 46 last year. Each team must have 12 to 24 members. Each team member must raise $100 for the American Cancer Society, and it costs $150 to be a team sponsor.

Anyone still wishing to be added to a team may call Nicolini at 984-4511, ext. 3.

Subway Sandwiches & Salads will serve lunch both days, and Applebee's Grill and Bar will serve fajitas between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday. Both restaurants will donate their proceeds to the American Cancer Society.

A luminary ceremony will begin at dusk. People will purchase luminary bags with candles in them. On each bag will be the name of someone who is fighting cancer or who has died from the disease.