Friday's Relay for Life campout cancelled

Posted at 12:09 AM, Apr 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-23 03:09:04-04

Friday night of Bakersfield’s Relay for Life is usually one of the biggest nights here at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Teams roll in, set up their tents and spend the night catching up with friends.

But tonight mother nature had different plans.

This year Bakersfield’s Relay for Life is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

This afternoon people began to set up when dangerous winds moved in.

“People were losing canopies, their popups started flying away and we started having some of the bigger tents start leaning,” said event lead Bryan Reyes.

Some participants like Jennifer Hardin still wanted  to stay, but organizers deemed it unsafe.

“I was in the Luminaria tent and it's a big tent and the was physically blowing me inside the tent...because I was next to the was blowing me over,” said Hardin.

With the wind gust reported near 50 miles per hour, organizers say safety was their main concern forcing event officials to pull the plug on tonight's campout making many participants  like Sandi Brown sad to be missing it.

“Usually the night before you get everything all set up and you're all geared up and ready. You visit with all of your friends that are here and you catch up with people you haven't seen since last year and we just stay the night and get eager for the morning,” said Brown.

For the hundreds that were turned away from tonight’s campout, the wind not only took away a night of tradition and fun but it also took away the chance for survivors and those battling cancer to bond over their circumstances.

Something survivor Jennifer Hardin hopes will push more people to stay through Saturday night.

“Cancer is 24 hours and it doesn't ever quit and that's what Relay's about. And it would be just great to see a lot more people stay the night Saturday night,” said Hardin.

Despite the campout being cancelled, event officials say the gates will reopen bright and early at 6 a.m. giving teams time to finish setting up and have time to hang out before the relay begins.