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Easter Seals Central Texas hosts First Annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival

The First Annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival, presented by Easter Seals Texas, hopes to raise money for a good cause through the preservation of a traditional Mexican holiday.

By Selina Bonilla

Let’s face it: Austin has this whole festival thing down. As festival season descends upon us, one is attempting to make a name for itself for the first time. Easter Seals Central Texas is hosting its First Annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival fundraiser this Saturday, Oct. 19.

Easter Seals Central Texas is a locally funded and governed nonprofit that provides much needed services to children and adults with disabilities and their families. Their services consist of physical therapy, occupational therapy, bilingual speech therapy, and audiology. Easter Seals, also, provides paid job training and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities to develop work skills and healthy work habits.

The Dia De Los Muertos Festival fundraiser is a means for this Austin based organization to continue their service to Central Texas. According to Susan Savkov, organizer of the festival, the Dia De Los Muertos holiday is a great fundraiser for it’s unique and interesting traditions that epitomize their non-profit’s mission.

“The Dia culture celebrates life and celebrate their loved ones and we thought it was perfect for us to celebrate life and life to come, because that’s what we celebrate- we celebrate the lives of our adults and children with disabilities and we help them celebrate everyday,” Savkov said.

This Festival will have a diverse line up of music for its attendees ranging from tejano and Texas country to cumbia. Artists such as Little Joe y la Familia (Little Joe will be celebrating his 73rd birthday), DaHeBeGeBees, The Whiskey Sisters, Dale Watson and many more are scheduled to perform and entertain the festival goers with their deeply cultured tunes for this Spanish holiday.

Food and beverages, as well as merchandise vendors, will be at the site. Festivalgoers can chow down on Mexican or Southern Home-style cooking and check out the multitude of Dia De Los Muertoes themed merchandise available. This family friendly event has the ‘Ninos Zone’, which will have entertainment and activities for children of all ages and abilities. Costumes are encouraged- wear a costume to the Festival and become a part of their Costume Parade at 5pm.

Among the many decorations of sugar skull art that commemorates the holiday, Dia De Los Muertos altars created by members of the community will also be on display. A donation to Easter Seals Central Texas buys you a tribute, where you can write a message to a loved one and add it to the designated altar.

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Photo courtesy of austindiadelosmuertos.com

This festival not only aims to give recognition to Dia De Los Muertos and its traditions, but to give recognition to Easter Seals Texas, as well.

“We want people to have fun, of course. But we hope to spread the word that we are a resource here in Central Texas for them whether they have a loved one who has a disability or know of someone who has a disability,” Savkov says. “We want people to know about what we do and that we are here in the community.”

Savkov says they plan to make this an annual festival.

The First Annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19, from noon to 10pm at Fiesta Gardens.

 To learn more go to http://www.austindiadelosmuertos.com/

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