The dates and initial details of the Relay for Life 2021 Renaissance Festival and Sci-Fi Expo, both of which take place in Second Life, have each been made available over the course of the last month, as have initial registration details, etc.
Both the Renaissance Festival are focused on raising funds as a part of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign, and the dates for both events are as follows:
Renaissance Festival: Friday September 24th through to Sunday, October 3rd, 2021, inclusive.
Sci-Fi Expo: Friday, October 8th through to Sunday, October 17th, inclusive.
The Renaissance Festival offers something for everyone interested in the medieval / renaissance period. It will take place across multiple regions – or kingdoms, if the 2020 format is retained – presenting a wide range of activities, including: shopping, role-play, auctions, tournaments and entertainment.
Registrations for the event are now available for (follow the links to learn more):
Merchants – a range of packages ranging in price from L$2,500 through to L$12,500 (the top-level options are now sold out), with assorted options. All fees are a 100% donation to the American Cancer Society.
Role-play packages – designed for Medieval / Renaissance / Norse & Similar Genre Roleplay Regions & Guilds & Alliances & Group
who wish to have a presences at the SL Renaissance Festival. Packages are prices at LS $2,500 each.
In addition, special sign-up opportunities are now open for:
Visiting Royals – Special Royals of the Day opportunities for breast cancer survivors and caregivers, with reserved seating at tournaments, special guests as other events and activities.
Tales of Heroes – the opportunity for breast cancer survivors and caregivers or physical world supporters of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to share their stories, with a special booth at the event with which to tell their story.
With the theme of Journey to New Eden, the 2021 Sci-Fi Expo promises to carry visitors to the frontier world of New Eden where they will find the biggest sci fi designers and shops, live performances, roleplaying events, and more to enjoy.
Merchant registrations are now open, with fees ranging from L$1,500 through to L$12,500, depending on the package, with 100% of the registration fee going to the American Cancer Society.
It’s a weekend of Peace Love and Hope and great music as the 8th annual RelayStock takes place between Friday, May 14th and Sunday, May 16th inclusive, once again raising funds for Relay For Life of Second Life and the world-wide work of the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Paying homage to Woodstock, and hosted by the Relay Rockers, RelayStock brings together Relay teams from diverse communities across Second Life for a celebration of the Relay season. Teams raise their banners above makeshift tents and old VW campers as they gather for three days of Peace Love Music and Hope.
A long-time staple of the annual Relay for Life season in Second Life, Relay Stock is also the venue to two special events – Bid a Linden Bald and the Celebrate Remember Fight-Back Top DJ Fund-raising Competition.
Bid A Linden Bald and Obtain a Limited Edition Linden Bear
2021 marks the 5th year that the Lindens have joined in the fun at RelayStock through Bid a Linden Bald – and this year the event has a couple of extra for folk to appreciate: the Moles of the LDPW are joining the fun, and those making donations via the special Bid a Linden Bald kiosks can receive a Limited Edition Linden Bear!
As the name suggests, Bid A linden Bald sees a number of teams from Linden Lab challenge one another to see who can raise the most in Linden Dollar donations for RFL of SL. At the end of the event, the team raising the least amount of money see their avatars get their hair shorn by the team raising the most. Or as the event advertising puts it:
Top team gets the scissors – lowest team gets the haircut!
The six teams from the Lab participating this year comprise:
Team 1: Alexa, Dottie, Izzy, Mint, Rhea, TJ, Wendi
Team 2: Cammy, Ellie, Kit, Oberwolf, Rocko, Tommy, Whitney
Team 3: Dakota, Evie, Kreide, Obi, Simon, Vanessa
Team 4: Darcy, Grumpity, Kristin, Patch, Spots, Vix
Team 5: Derrick, Hobbes, Maggie, Patsy, Theresa, Volo
For those who have been asking about the Lab’s new Board members and their interest in Second Life, it’s worth pointing out that Team 2’s Oberwolf Linden is in fact Board member and Executive Chairman Brad Oberwager, who is getting fully into the swing of the event and showing further support for activities in Second Life, along with the Lab’s new Chief of Staff, Cammy Bergren (Cammy Linden), who is also a member of Team 2!
Since its inauguration in 2017 (at the Second Life Birthday event) Bid A Linden Bald has helped to raise L$3,000,000 (approx. US $12,000) for Relay For Life and the ACS.
Every year, I look forward to the Rockers’ Bid Me Bald fundraiser. This is one of the longest running team fundraisers in our Relay’s history and it has become a touchstone moment for so many of us. I have enjoyed watching the event grow and evolve over the years and am grateful to the Lindens for getting into the spirit of this time-tested fundraising challenge.
– Stingray Raymaker, ACS representative in Second Life
Biding is now open at the RelayStock event space, and will remain so through until Wednesday May 19th, when, at 12:00 SLT, the team to lose their hair will be announced and the Official Haircutting will take place (and all are invited!).
Bid A Linden Bald Linden Bears
This year, people can bid by making a donation directly to each team’s kiosk, or by making a L$250 donation to the accompanying Limited Edition Bid A Linden Bald Linden Bear kiosk and receive a pair of Limited Edition Linden Bears.
Designed by Chronos Mole, these comprise a wearable Animesh Bear and a seated static bear for home décor. It would have perhaps been nice if the wearable bear was a little smaller and rigged to sit, say, on your shoulder rather than just a simple “carry” pose that is easily overridden by any walking animation, but they are nevertheless a cute pair, and already proving to be very popular.
Bid a Linden Bald can be found at the large barn immediately adjacent to the RelayStock landing point.
Celebrate Remember Fight-Back Top DJ Fund-raising Competition Grand Final
The CRFB event features Club and Radio DJs from all over Second Life as they try to see who among them can raise the most Linden Dollars in support of the Relay For Life, with RelayStock hosting the Grand Final between the two top fund-raisers.
In 2020, DJ Baggie and DJ Kayla went head-to-head in their sets at RelayStock, raising more than L$330,000 in the process, with DJ Kayla taking home top honours. This year will see finalists DJ Tanis and DJ Stormy compete in back-to-back sets on Sunday, May 17th.
The event’s activities line up as follows (all times SLT – check the official event page for any late updates):
Friday May 14th
Saturday May 15th
Sunday May 16th
13:00: DJ Zen Greywolf
14:30: DJ Melinia Firehawk
16:00: Keeba & Maniacs – LIVE
17:00 : Quartz – LIVE
18:00: DJ Sasha Fairywren
19:30: DJ Kewl
09:00: Shay Dezno-Gary Jonstone-LIVE
10:30 Noon: DJ Kayla
Noon: DJ Corruptor
13:30: DJ Selene Jashan
15:00-16:00: Todd Rumsford – LIVE
16:00-17:30: DJ Jennylynn Capalini
17:30-19:00: DJCynthia Farshore
19:00-20:30: DJ Toocool
20:30-22:00: DJ Stephanie
09:00-10:30: DJ Caesey Sawson
10:30-12:00 Noon: DJ Rora
Noon-13:30: Brisas Ar – LIVE
1:30PM – Max Kleene – LIVE
2:00PM – CRFB FINALIST – DJ Tanis
3:30PM – CRFB FINALIST-DJ Stormy
5:00PM – Trader Whiplash – Time Machine
7:30PM – DJ Mattie Carlson
So, let the spirit of the Age of Aquarius enter your life this weekend, don your kaftan (and galoshes!), put flowers in your hair and head on over to RelayStock for great music, great dancing, great fun – all in a good cause!
The 27th edition of Lab Gab live streamed on Friday, June 5th, and featured members of the Second Life Relay for Life team Stingray9798 Raymaker, Trager Alter, MamaP Beerbaum, and Nikki Mathieson, to mark the 2020 Relay weekend (which you can read about here). They were interviewed by co-hosts for the session, Strawberry Linden and Patch Linden.
The official video of the segment is available via You Tube, and is embedded at the end of this article. The following is a summary of the key topics discussed and responses to questions asked.
About the RFL Team
Trager Alter has been directly involved in Relay for Life of SL since 2017 after being introduce to Stingray by MammaP. He’s been directly involved in Relay Refresh – telling the stories of people who have faced and survived cancer.
MammaP became involved with Relay for Life of Second Life at a time when her father was suffering from cancer. It gave her the opportunity to do something practical to help raise money for cancer research whilst simultaneously caring doe her father in the physical world.
Nikki Mathieson joined SL alongside of MamaP, and became enamoured with the platform, the opportunities it offers, and realised that it offered huge potential for Relay for Life, and became involved in RFL of RL for that reason.
Stingray came to SL through the American Cancer Society, having been the manager for RFL’s on-line content. He was asked to look into RFL activities in SL as a result of RFL of SL volunteers working with ACS’s Innovations Team, and everything had reached a point where the Innovation Team were ready to hand it over to the ACS Relay Team, and he was asked to take the lead, so becoming the official liaison between RFL of SL and ACS.
What is the Relay Weekend?
Every year, Relay for Life raises money for the work of the American Cancer Society via a season of events. Many of these are run by individual Relay Teams formed by Second Life residents, and some are “mega events” (such as the Home and Garden Expo, Fantasy Faire, the Sci-Fi Convention, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Xmas Expo).
The Relay Weekend is the culmination of those events held during the core Relay season (February to June), where all the teams, large and small come together alongside the RFL track, each team with its own parcel to promote the work in providing care, support and treatment for sufferers of cancer in all its forms and their families and carers.
The event carries the ideal of Relay events in the physical world by having members of each team take turns to walk around an in-world track for the full 24 hours of the event. This is to symbolise two things:
When someone is dealing with cancer, they are no doing it alone, there are others who can support them and be with them.
The 24-hour aspect is recognition that cancer never sleeps, and the quest for cures to it cannot rest either.
The camp sites and themed regions all offer opportunities to socialise, to make friends and to learn more about cancer and how it can affect lives, be treated, etc., and the role of the ACS in all of this.
How does the Weekend Differ from Physical World RFL Events?
Abbreviated history of Relay:
In May 1985, Dr. Gordon Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Washington, raised money for ACS by walking around the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound for 24 hours, covering approximately 83 miles around the track.
Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him.
After this event, Klatt thought about how other people could participate in a similar event in their own community. He recruited a small team of people to host the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer, and from this Relay for Life grew.
Relay for Life events now take place in some 30 countries around the world.
Events generally comprise:
A Survivor Lap, which starts the Relay event.
An Opening Lap, in which all the participants take a lap around the track
A Luminaria Ceremony, usually with a candlelight vigil
A “Fight Back” Ceremony, in which participants pledge to take specific actions against cancer.
The SL Relay Weekend comprises the same format and key activities. But differs in execution:
It does not require so much central logistical organisation and management.
It does however, require far more infrastructure coordination.
It is effectively a bigger event, both in terms of virtual vs. physical size (the 2020 track, for example, equates to some 6 miles), and in terms of the numbers of people participating.
Teams are able to do more than “just” camp and walk the track: they can directly support fund-raising by organising and running their own mini-events and activities.
It is a fully international event.
What is the Luminaria Ceremony?
It is the hour of the event (started at 21:00 on the Saturday of the Relay Weekend, roughly half-way through the weekend.
At that time, the track is darkened, and everyone in the Relay Regions are asked not to engage in open text or voice chat but to walk the track in silence or stand to one side.
During the hour, the names of those to be remembered, as submitted by the Luminaria Dedication Form that has been available for some time before each Relay Weekend, are read out over the event audio channel (which can be best listened through via the T1 Radio pop-up media player).
It is a time for people to reflect on how cancer has touched them personally, to recall those they’ve lost to the disease, or someone who is facing it as a part of their life, or someone who has seen it enter remission.
Also honoured throughout the weekend are the names hovering above the Luminaria lanterns that line either side of the track, and through which residents can make a donation to RFL of SL (minimum L$50) and add a name / dedication.
How Has the SARS-C0V-2 Pandemic Affected ACS?
Like most non-profit organisations world-wide, ACS relays on large-scale, multi-people fund-raising events, with Relay For Life being the largest annual event for ACS, with the primary RFL fund-raising period world-wide being April-May.
SARS-CoV-2 has therefore significantly impacted RFL both as the ACS’ main means of raising funds, and the amount of funds overall that are flowing into the organisation on a daily basis.
RFL of SL and Second Life users – and their families and friends – are therefore critical to the mission of ACS, by:
Engaging in events such as the Relay Weekend and donating money.
And / or by visiting RFL of SL page at the RFL website and making a donation.
ACS and Relay teams around the world have recognised that RFL of SL is now the spear of fund-raising efforts.
Second Life users have rallied to this call, at the time of writing, RFL of SL has raised around US $275,000.
Overall, RFL of SL has raised some US $4 million (around L$1 billion) during the years it has been operating.
RFL of SL Events
RFL of SL comprises a range of events, most of which take place during the core in-world fund-raising season between February and June each year.
This period includes the majority of the mega events (Home and Garden, Fantasy Faire, Sci-Fi Convention and the Relay Weekend.
There are also all the team events held across SL.
There is also the Xmas Expo and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in October, which is to be expanded to have its own Renaissance mega event.
In terms of fund raising, Fantasy Faire remains the biggest mega event for in Second Life, with Making Strides also a focused and effective fund-raiser.
Outside of these, mega and large events tend to evolve and change. There used to be a major RFL of SL clothing / fashion event, for example, and when breedables became very popular in SL, there was a dedicated Breedables Fair.
The days of relay has also proved popular among communities wishing to support RFL / ACS. This started as the 5 days of relay in 2019 and had to be expanded to the 10 days of relay in 2020 to accommodate everything.
Where Do All the Donations Go?
Kiosks for RFL of SL are set up to allow events and teams see how much they have raised and contributed.
When a donation is made, it briefly goes to the kiosk holder account, but then is immediately paid out of that account and into the ACS fund account.
RFL of SL merchant vendors work on the same principle of payment in, then immediate transfer of the amount to the ACS fund raising account.
Funds are cashed out from the ACS L$ account in s similar manner: they are converted to US dollars and then process credited to ACS, not to any intermediary account.
When the funds are received by ACS, there is a certain amount that has to cover expenses (e.g. the running costs associated with having a presence in SL), but all other funds beyond this go directly to supporting ACS in its various missions.
Some of the money raised may be directed at a specific programme, as is the case with Making Strides, Fantasy Faire and the Xmas Expo:
Money raised by Making Strides goes directly to the ACS breast cancer mission.
In 2018 / 2019 funds raised be Fantasy Faire went directly into the Kenyatta National Hospital Hope Hostel in Kenya (see here for an initial report on this project from 2018).
This year, the US $75,000 raised by Fantasy Faire is reserved for use in the ACS global mission.
Similarly, the funds raised by the Christmas Expo are earmarked for the ACS child cancer programme.
Funds not earmarked for specific missions / programmes is referred to as “purple money” and goes towards the ACS cancer research mission in the United States. ACS is believed to be the largest funder of cancer research in the world outside of the US government.
Within SL, the funds pay for ACS island and all the resources, facilities and support than can be offered through the island directly to cancer sufferers and cancer care workers in-world, the Cancer Survivors support group, etc.
How Can SL Communities Get Involved and Help?
Individuals can attend RFL of SL events and donate through kiosks, make purchases (where available), etc.
It’s a weekend of Peace Love and Hope and great music as the 7th annual RelayStock takes place between Friday, May 15th and Sunday, May 17th inclusive.
Paying homage to Woodstock and hosted by the Relay Rockers, the event features live and DJ entertainment, dancing, vendors and the opportunity to help raise money for RFL of SL.
Activities are focused on RFL team camp sites set out around a 60s style festival stage. The camp sites, mixed between iconic VW camper wagons and tents, are occupied by RFL Relay teams who present kiosks and fund-raising vendors, while the event stage plays hosts to the performers and the ever-popular Celebrate Remember Fight Back (CRFB) Top DJ Competition.
The event is open to all residents of Second Life to enjoy and In addition, when visiting you’ll also be able to Bid a Linden Bald, which this year see four teams for Linden Lab participating – see 2020 Bid a Linden Bald for RFL of SL for more.
The event’s activities line up as follows (all times SLT – check the official event page for any late updates):
Friday May 15th:
13:30 – 15:00: DJ Stephanie – Bellisseria For Relay For Life.
15:00 – 16:30 DJ DollEyes Barbosa – Too Tough To Die.
16:30 – 18:00: DJ Evee – Spirit Of The Dragon.
18:00 – 19:30: DJ Dredd Rocktatansky – The River Rock Club.
19:30 – 21:00: DJ Melina Firehawk – Heroes Helping Heroes.
Saturday May 16th:
12:00 – 13:30: DJ Angel Blossom – Seekers Of Hope.
13:30 – 15:00: DJ Gem Sunkiller – Team Shadow.
15:00 – 16:00: Max Kleene – Live Singer – Relay Rockers.
17:00 – 19:30: DJ Trader Whiplash – The Time Machine Show – Relay Rockers.
19:30 – 21:00: DJ Kayla – Roos With A Dream.
So, let the age of Aquarius enter your life this weekend, don your kaftan (and galoshes!), put flowers in your hair and head on over to RelayStock for get music, great dancing, great fun – and all in a good cause!
Beyond the borders of Heliodor the lands changed. Verdant grass and trees gave way to scrub, then rock and sand. As they changed, so did the say above, turning to the pale blue of burnished steel, the Sun hot and painful to the eyes. Hard and unwelcoming, these were lands that gave birth to doubt and the desire to turn back from our path and seek again the haven offered by the elves of Heliodor once more.
But onward we strove, company and horses wilting in equal measure under the heat of the Sun and huddled against the cold nights that awaited at the end of each day. We were drawn by the mystical promise of Agra Adara, and when its golden domes and slender minarets rose through the horizon’s haze, we all could not help but be lifted in spirit and pace, despite the Sun’s heat until at last we came to the gates of the city as it sat between the seas of sand and water.
Standing as a beacon of light in the surrounding darkness of desert and sea, Agra Adara is a place that defies description for those who have not seen it. Scarce have I found a place more strange to my eyes: the peoples here be-robed in white or bright colours even to their heads, their skins warmed brown by the Sun, their eyes bright stars filled with greeting, their houses and buildings natural palaces of cool air, rich carpets and tiles that carried the heat of the body away through the very soles of our boots.
The gardens surrounding these snow-white buildings offered a rich sanctuary from the trials of journeys by land or across the inland sea. As rich and verdant as those of Heliodor, Elemaria or the other realms through which we had passed, these gardens lay cut by channels of water built by hand, and by natural pools. Thus Agra Adara is more than an oasis – it is a haven for life, watched over by the strange – to mine own eyes at least – animal and man-gods of the ancient peoples who formed it.
Never have a seen a place so rich in life – the people, the deer, the rabbits, the dogs and the most magnificent horses I have ever seen, tall and proud, with blankets instead of saddles. It was on these marvellous beasts that I and three of my companions were given a tour of the gardens on our second day in this most renewing of places. Dressed in the light robes and headdresses of out hosts, we followed paths through the long grass to discover the decorated gardens where the deer roamed, and thence out to the pools beyond where we were greeted by the wonderful site of elephants that raised their trunks in greeting.
It was here by day we could rest and renew our spirits and by night witness such dance and entertainment as we have never witnessed – but not for ourselves or the other travellers, traders and merchants drawn to Agra Adara’s jewel , but for the people of the city itself. Filled with an inner light and a lightness of heart, they dances for one another, for their love of life, weaving tales of the history of the world as they saw it, celebrating those strange gods who had helped them to found this golden-domed city and caused it to flourish.
For me, this was a place I could so happily have settled, the richness of history and depth of beauty called to my heart, the dance caused me to want to learn more of the legends of the gods and men who gave the city form. and so I counted each day within Agra Adara, hoping the ship that would carry onward might be delayed by yet another, so my time here could continue.
Agra Adara by Eldowyn Inshan & Katz Republic, sponsored by United InshCon & Bad Katz, Camp Italia, Eagle’s Photo Studio. Featuring stores by: ChangHigh Art, CKit Falconry, DCKM & Rogues Echo, Dragons Arise, Dreamcatcher, .: Eclectic Stars :., Grumble, Hawker’s House & Dragon Forge Weapons, John Dee’s Emporium, Little 2 Large, Lyrical Bizarre Templates, Mirage Treasure Co., Sakka’s Studio, Shaman’s Hut, Stitched, and TFF – Tayren’s Fantasy Fashions.
Total raised by the end of the Faire’s eighth day: L$7,695,927 (US $30,783).
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer has, for the last several years, been a signature event for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life of Second Life, focused on – as the name implies – the issue of breast cancer.
Around 1.6 million women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer very year, which equates to around 270,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer per year in the United States and around 55,000 in the UK alone. It’s a cause I’ve always supported throughout my time in Second Life, although I will admit it was something brought a lot closer to home for me when I was diagnosed with DCIS – ductal carcinoma in situ, a form of non-invasive breast cancer. I was fortunate enough to be diagnosed early – but many around the world are not so fortunate, and breast cancer remains the second largest (by diagnosis) form of cancer to impact people world-wide; hence to focus of Makes Strides.
In keeping with the changes made in 2018 to Making Strides fund-raising in Second Life, this year will see two major events take place to raise funds to help with the detection, treatment and, ultimately, prevention of breast cancer world-wide: the Out Shop Cancer event and the Making Strides Walk-a-Thon.
ACS has recently put out a final call for merchants to join the Out Shop Cancer event, as well a call for participants in the 2019 Walk-a-Thon, which this year forms a part of the Pink Power Fest; details of both can be found below for those interested in participating in either event.
Out Shop Cancer
Dates: throughout October 2019.
SLurl: all across the grid – HUD based.
This is a grid-wide shopping event starting on October 1st, 2019 and ending on October 31st. Merchants are being asked to support it by designating specific items that will be sold either in their in-world stores or on the Second Life Marketplace store (or both) as a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer programmes and services.
When the event opens, shoppers will be able to obtain a special HUD enabling them to teleport to participating stores in world and find items on the Marketplace and make purchases, with the funds going to RFL of SL / ACS.
In 2018, 40 merchants participated in the event, and this year ACS is hoping to see 50 or more join in.
Because breast cancer is the 2nd most diagnosed cancer, and because Second Life gives us the opportunity to explore so many different forms of expression, we are planning a shopping experience that will offer something to as many types of avatars as possible. This means that we need a cross-section of designers and creators to represent fashion, hair, accessories, skins/shapes, A/Os, recreation, art, and anything else that would interest men, women, children, and non-human avatars in Second Life.
– Sandie Slate, ACS Event Lead for Make Strides Out Shop Cancer
Merchants willing to take part should follow the links below:
The Pink Power Fest and Making Strides Walk-a-Thon
Dates: Saturday, October 19th through Saturday, October 26th, 2019.
This year’s Make Strides Walk-a-Thon will be the kick-off event for the 2019 Pink Power Fest, it will run from 10:00 through 18:00 on Saturday, October 19th.
Walkers are invited to join in throughout the 10 hours of the event and participate for as long as they can, walking the track and raising money from their donors for each lap they complete – tool will be provided to track their progress, allowing them to collect the pledges of supporters. Laps will be accompanied by music throughout, adding to the festive air.
If you would like to participate in the walk and obtain pledges from your SL friends and family who are willing to support you, please follow the links below:
In addition, the Pink Power Fest will feature daily events including live music and entertainment from singers, tribute bands and DJs gathering for the festival from across the grid. There will also be raffles, gachas, and vendors, with all donations & proceeds going to the American Cancer Society and the work in treating and preventing breast cancer. On Saturday, October 26th, the Fest will close with the Harvest of Hope Gala, honouring all Survivors & Caregivers, and remember those we have lost. I hope to have more information on the specifics of all of these events and activities in due course.
Hosting your Own Breast Cancer Event
This year, ACS is also inviting SL residents to host their own October event to support Making Strides, with a September 18th ACS announcement noting:
If you would like to plan your own breast cancer fundraiser, you’re encouraged to work within your community or group in Second Life to organize your own Strides Campaign. Make sure to let the American Cancer Society know about it by completing the ACS Calendar Event Submission Form so we can share it with others.
All Strides Campaigns must use the official Strides fundraising tools that are provided by the American Cancer Society. Fundraising campaigns may include events, hunts, shows, sales, or simply putting out a donation kiosk at your club or store throughout the month of October.