If you wonder why purple ribbons are popping up around the metro-east, it's because Friday marks the first of several Relay for Life events through the area this summer.
The overnight fundraisers are put on by the American Cancer Society to celebrate cancer survivors, raise money and encourage community participation. All events are open to the public.
"The public is more than welcome to come out and honor survivors and walk the track and enjoy some food and entertainment and join in the festivities," explained Lana Tobin, of the American Cancer Society's Maryville office.
Several communities hang purple ribbons and signs the week prior to their Relay for Life.
Chris Andrews, of the American Cancer Society, said it's called "painting the town purple," a color which represents the fight against all types of cancer.
The week before Belleville's Relay for Life, this year on July 18, volunteers tie purple ribbons around the Public Square. In Collinsville, volunteers painted windows of Main Street storefronts purple, in addition to hanging ribbons and signs, Andrews said.
Survivor dinners are held during the week prior to each community's walk. It is open to cancer survivors, but registration is required, Tobin said.
To register for the Relay for Life or the survivor dinners, visit cancer.org, call the Maryville office at 618-288-2390 or sign up the evening of the event in you community.
Here is the list of metro-east Relay for Life events:
6 p.m. Friday, Tri Township Park
6 p.m. June 13, Collinsville Middle School
6 p.m. June 20, GCS Ballpark, Sauget
7 p.m. June 20, Freeburg Community High School
6 p.m. June 21, O'Fallon Township High School
6 p.m. June 27, Edwardsville High School
6 p.m. July 11, Glik Park/Korte Recreation Center
6 p.m. July 18, Belleville West High School
East St. Louis
6 p.m. July 18, Clyde C. Jordan Memorial Stadium
6 p.m. Aug. 1, Central High School
6:30 p.m. Aug. 15, Gibault Catholic High School, Waterloo