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Dia De Los Muertos Gala set for Thursday

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FACE PAINTING: Makeup artist Sofia Longoria paints a Dia De Los Muertos mask on the face of Ashley Cuevas. The Dia De Los Muertos Gala is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Rigmig Salon.
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OLIVAS: Donations collected at Thursday’s event will be given to the Olivas family for helpcover the medical costs associated with the treatment of Daniel Olivas, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ewing Sarcoma on Aug. 8, 2017.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Dia De Los Muertos Gala will celebrate loved ones who have passed and share this piece of Mexican culture from 6-9 p.m. Thursday in the basement of the Rigmig Salon at 500 N. Main St. in Frankfort.

The first of what organizers hope will be an annual event in Frankfort will be free, but they encourage people to give donations, all of which will go to help the Olivas family cover the medical costs associated with the treatment of 15-year-old Daniel Olivas, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ewing Sarcoma on Aug. 8, 2017 and has been battling the cancer ever since.

“We are trying to help in any way possible,” said Learning Network of Clinton County’s Coral Santos. “Hopefully, if we do have a good turnout, we will make this an every year kind of thing and do it for different causes. So, if we know a family that needs help in any way or donations of any kind, we would like to do this for the same purpose while educating the community on The Day of the Dead and what it is.”

“There is going to be authentic Mexican food, music so people can dance, and then there is also going to be face painting and other activities for the kids to enjoy as well as the parents,” said Mari Cruz, who also works for the Learning Network. “There will be information explaining what Day of the Dead is and what it means to the culture.”

“There will also be a speech given by Anahi Santos around 7:30 p.m. in English and in Spanish to describe what The Day of the Dead is because a lot of people are unfamiliar with that,” said Coral. “She is going to explain how The Day of the Dead is a day during which we celebrate our loved ones who have passed. So we will have an alter that represents them. We usually provide food that they used to like, so it is a day when they come back, get to enjoy what they used to eat and then they go back.”

Coral says everything from the venue to the food has been donated for the event.

Alex and Celestino Martines, aka the “Sonido Twins,” will donate their time to DJ the event, Regions Bank has donated cases of water, and a long list of people will donate authentic Mexican food.

“The food is mostly donated,” Coral said. “We are going to have ‘art’ Jellos. We will have shredded chicken with chipotle sauce. We are going to give away 50 flower crowns (first come, first served) which you usually see on The Day of the Dead.”

People will be able to put their own toppings on tostadas and shredded chicken, there will be rice milk “horchata,” coconut water, hibiscus water and, of course, regular water. There will also be a photo booth and possible Mexican Bingo and perhaps a couple giveaways.

“That is our purpose,” Coral said. “Our purpose if for people to enjoy a different culture, and getting to know us and know what we do and our celebration. This is a colorful celebration and t is to bring back our loved ones at least for one day.”

The idea for the event originated with the L.E.A.D. (Learn, Educate, Achieve, and Dream) non-profit organization, which was founded by Karina Garcia Martinez.

“It is a group that the Learning Network is sponsoring,” Coral said. “They have core members who will be at the event volunteering.

“All of us are going to have our own style and wear flower crowns,” Coral said. “Some of us will have our faces painted like skulls, so you will get to see us.”

“For those who have to cook, this is a day where you don’t have to cook,” Mari said. “You can come in early at 6 p.m. and have some authentic Mexican food, try something different and learn about a different culture that surrounds you.”