Palmyra's Flower Children team for the Relay For Life cancer fund-raiser received a big surprise Saturday, April 22, during its Spring Fling. A banner was unveiled, declaring it Missouri's top Relay For Life team in 2016. The team raised $68,189 in 2016, including $55,363 at its Spring Fling.

Palmyra's Flower Children team for the Relay For Life cancer fund-raiser received a big surprise Saturday, April 22, during its Spring Fling. A banner was unveiled, declaring it Missouri's top Relay For Life team in 2016. The team raised $68,189 in 2016, including $55,363 at its Spring Fling.

The banner was presented to Mark and Stephanie Bross, co-captains of the Flower Children team, after dinner was served at the Palmyra American Legion Hall, where the crowd filling the hall was ready for the fund-raising auction.

Kathryn McDaniel, leader of six area counties with the American Cancer Society, made the presentation, reporting the local team was the number one fund-raising team in Missouri in 2016. The team also received an awning with its logo.

After honoring the cancer survivors present, Mark Bross encouraged them – and everyone else present - to participate in the June 2 Marion County Relay For Life, which will be in Hannibal.

The survivors were encouraged to fill out their registration form and be in the survivors' lap at the Relay For Life, and team members distributed the forms.

This was the 17th annual Spring Fling by the Flower Children team. This year's theme was “An evening in Oz. There's no place like Hope.” Several costumed Oz characters performed during the evening,

Both live and silent auctions took place, with George Keller again serving as auctioneer.

Among the live auction items attracting attention before the bidding was a wooden “rocking plane” made by Mark Hemm of Quincy. Hemm explained he has been making items for the Flower Children team for many years, as have other members of the Quincy Woodworkers Guild. He formerly made several Winnie the Pooh cedar chests.

Before the auction Mark Bross reported that since the annual Flower Children's Spring Flings began in 2001, they have raised a total of $671,402, and including this total, the Flower Children team has raised $862,977. “We hope to hit the million mark next year,” he said. “We get lots of support from Palmyra, Hannibal, Quincy, St. Louis and Kansas City.”

Several business posters advertising the Relay For Life were displayed in the room with the silent auction items, and Bross explained, “We sell posters to businesses leading up to this, and they go back to the businesses leading up to the Relay in June.”

See photo gallery for more photos of the Spring Fling.

Reach reporter Bev Darr at bev.darr@courierpost.com.