2017 Party in the Park – A Wonderful Evening

Parade to Party

Dirty Shorts Brass Band leading Picnickers to the Party in the Park

Over 1000 people from at least nine different states came together for a beautiful evening at Rein in Sarcoma’s 17th annual “Party in the Park.” The experiences were delightful and moving, and advanced our work to support sarcoma research, provide patient and family support, and raise sarcoma awareness. Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to the event’s success! The festivities kicked off with the annual sarcoma family picnic, sponsored by D’Amico Catering and attended by over 400 sarcoma survivors, loved ones, and those directly touched by sarcoma. At dusk, the event closed with a beautiful ceremony including lighted luminaries, the presentation of named funds, music, and fire dancing.

luminaries at the Party in the Park

The Party in the Park was presented by Walser Subaru with key additional support from the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota Cancer Care, Building Arts, Minnesota Oncology, Ergodyne, Restoration, and D'Amico's Catering. The evening was full of fun, education, and community support. Activities included carousel rides, musical entertainment, haircuts, pictures with princesses and Minnesota mascots, face painting, children’s games and shows, a silent auction, the "Sarcoma Garden of Hope", and "Sarcoma Corner." As the sun set on the beautiful night, names were read “in memory” and “in honor” of those who were personally affected by sarcoma. Touching stories were shared during the presentation of named funds, while decorated luminaries lit the area.

Highlights of the 17th Annual Party in the Park and Sarcoma Family picnic:

Sarcoma Family Picnic

Sarcoma Family Picnic

Over 400 people attended the picnic: sarcoma patients, survivors, loved ones and those who have lost a loved one to sarcoma. Attendees mingled with doctors and researchers from the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. New connections were formed among a community joined together by personal connection to sarcoma.

Sarcoma survivors were presented with a bright sunflower, and each attendee was provided with a delicious meal donated by D’Amico Catering. Vibrant sunflower bouquets decorated each table and were given to the picnickers at the end of the event. As the picnic closed, the "Dirty Shorts Brass Band" entertained the crowd and led them "New Orleans" style up the hill to the Party in the Park.

Sarcoma Survivor

Sarcoma Family Picnic

Opening Program

The opening program, sponsored by the University of Minnesota, celebrated the progress of the organization, the generosity of sponsors, the contributions of medical and research teams, and the stories of survivors. The new executive director for Rein in Sarcoma, Janelle Calhoun, was introduced and our key corporate sponsors were recognized and thanked. These included Walser-Subaru, the University of Minnesota Cancer Care, the Mayo Clinic, Building Arts, Minnesota Oncology, Ergodyne, Restoration, and D'Amico Catering.

University of Minnesota surgeon and Rein in Sarcoma Board charter member, Edward Cheng, introduced doctors and researchers from the U of M, Mayo Clinic, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, and Region Hospital (HealthPartners).

Sarcoma Doctors

Opening Act

Erin Schwab and the Jay Fuch's Band

Local Twin Cities artist, Erin Schwab and the Jay Fuch’s Band, provided musical entertainment with fourteen-year-old, Maggie Cappelen from Mahtomedi High School performing the opening act. Erin Schwab is known for her versatile voice and engaging style with her audiences, and certainly set the stage for the opening ceremony with her performance of “You Got to Have Friends.” She closed the opening program with the inspirational song, “I Will Survive.”

Ken and Julieann Selden shared their thoughts and experiences with sarcoma as survivor and caregiver. Although each patient’s story is different, the couple expressed many of the heartaches, stresses, pain, and sickness that sarcoma can bring to a family. They also emphasized the hope that is possible through expert medical treatment, patient support, top-notch research, and increased awareness.


Ken Selden

Ken and Julieann Selden

Upcoming fundraisers and events were announced, including the University of Minnesota sponsored Chainbreaker bike ride, the Rein in Sarcoma Charity Golf tournament, and the RIS fall formal fundraising event.

Carousel Rides

Always one of most meaningful parts of the Party is the first ride on Cafesjian's Carousel which is reserved for sarcoma patients, survivors, sarcoma doctors and researchers. The crowd roared and cheered on the 50 plus sarcoma survivors as they rode the carousel to "rein in sarcoma!" Following the initial tribute ride, all were invited to ride the carousel for the rest of the evening.

tribute carousel ride

Girl dancing


face painting

Children and Family Activities

Family fun is a hallmark of the Party in the Park and this year's Party continued that grand tradition including:
The Children’s Arcade - Dozens of new and returning games delighted and honed the skills of participants of all ages.
The Bounce House - continued to be a huge hit.
Face Painting and Glitter Ink Tattoos - Kids of all ages became the pallet for works of art by our highly talented face painters and new option this year - glitter ink tattoos.
Sarcoma Garden of Hope - Thanks to the ongoing support of Elphis Enterpises dozens of wonderful bird feeders were built and decorated.
“The Big Fun Show” - Dave Walbridge, Mr. Big Fun himself, provided great family entertainment. His show of comedy juggling, magic, modern vaudeville, one-man circus event was a big hit!
Pictures with Princesses - For the first time, three princesses from The Royal Sisterhood joined us for the Party. The kids were delighted to greet and pose for pictures with the storybook characters.

making a bird feeder

dinosaur T-shirt - "make sarcoma extinct"


Sarcoma Corner

The beautiful Centennial Garden was the setting for our transformed Sarcoma Corner, which provided the stories of hope from sarcoma survivors and honored the memories of those lost to sarcoma. In this beautiful setting attendees could learn about our educational programs at the Red Flags of Sarcoma exhibit and meet our 2017-18 Sarcoma Scholars. The 6th Edition of the RIS Sarcoma Patient Starter Notebook was there for patients and families to look at and request if they had not received one from their doctor. Many of the attendees used this beautiful setting to sit a minute and reflect among the beautiful flowers and the relative quiet.

Sarcoma corner

Red Flags - Sarcoma Corner

Silent Auction

Attendees Support the RIS Mission

Party in the Park continues to be a major fundraising event supporting our mission. We should be able to report final dollars raised by mid-August. Returning activities included the ever-popular adult Ring Toss. A very successful and smoothly run Silent Auction saw almost 200 items sold in our second year using mobile bidding. Four lucky Raffle winners were announced on the main stage and Merchandise, Concessions and Barber tents were busy throughout the evening.

Closing Program and Ceremony

Sponsored by University of Minnesota Cancer Care and Hosted by Dr. Ed Cheng.
Our recently named 2017-2018 Sarcoma Scholars (four from the University of Minnesota and two from the Mayo Clinic) were introduced by Dr. Katie Dusenbery. Robert Gao, a 2016-17 Sarcoma Scholar who is doing a research year in conjunction with our Hallie Brown Educational Initiative also joined the Scholars in the Sarcoma Corner to talk about raising awareness.

2017-18 Sarcoma Scholars

Pete Wyckoff and Janelle Calhoun dedicated five new RIS Named Funds, telling the remarkable sarcoma stories of each of these individuals: the Miranda Mead Fund, the Judith B Wolson Fund, the Heidi Minor Fund, the Nick Convey Fund and the Marge Krauter Fund. In addition, 21 continuing named funds were recognized with candles in honor of each of these persons which were placed in the ever expanding RIS Luminary wall. Learn more about RIS Named Funds and the persons honored.

Honoring loved ones


Erin returned to the stage to sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with Mike Trucano and Megan Worthley-Sohns reading the names of sarcoma survivors and those lost to sarcoma that were on lighted luminaries by a beautiful flowered moat. These candles filled our evening with a special brightness that comes from the love, compassion and joyful memories we hold for our family members and friends with sarcoma cancer. It was a moving moment for everyone. Erin then brought the evening to a close accompanied with the "Fire Dancer"s with a great performances of “Burning Love” and “Fire”.

Celebrating a Grand Tradition

With its 17th annual Party in the Park, Rein in Sarcoma held high Karen's vision of education, patient support, and finding cures for sarcoma cancers so in her words, "no child would need to go to chemo instead of kindergarten." Our thanks to the over 200 Party in the Park volunteers and volunteer manager, Nancy Hendrickson, and the incredible work of the Clemens Family in coordinating and orchestrating the logistics of this amazing evening.

2017 Party in the Park Slideshow

Our great thanks to our 2107 Party photographers: Karen Eckman. Ron Eggert, Carleen Yocum, Stellar Quash, Marty Turner and Taylor Dale, and thanks to Marissa Porter for her video. Relive the Picnic and Party and download your favorites.