Latin Night Live Returns to Broadway Square
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Myrna Hill The Ashland Beacon Sugar skull costumes, margaritas, and bounce houses, oh my! Visit AKY and Ashland For Change have partnered again this year to host their second annual Latin Night Live Celebration in Broadway Square. The event will take place on October 1 from 6-9 p.m. Latin Night Live will conclude Hispanic Heritage Week in Ashland, and will fall during Hispanic Heritage Month. Local businesses will offer specials on food, drinks, and more throughout the week. Latin Night Live 2021 was the first event of its kind in the Ashland area, and drew crowds from all backgrounds. Taco Week was also a huge hit amongst local restaurants and its patrons, but expect some new offerings for Hispanic Heritage Week, which will be September 24-October 1. The national theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” Recognizing different cultures and learning new ways of life is a perfect way to cultivate inclusivity in the community. “Taco Week and Latin Night Live were really popular last year, so we are excited to offer something new and exciting this year,” Assistant Tourism Director, Courtney Hensley, said. The event will celebrate the Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It is a traditional Mexican holiday that is meant to honor and pay respect to family and loved ones who have passed. Altars are created to guide spirits home and for them to enjoy the offerings brought forth by the living. They contain the four main elements of nature—earth, wind, fire and water. Each element is represented by candles, food, colorful punched paper (papel picado), and water. Marigolds are also included for their strong scent, which is said to attract spirits. Cesiah Blanton, who was born in Mexico, wanted to bring a piece of her culture to Ashland. “The holiday is important because it provides people the opportunity to navigate the bittersweet process of grief and allows us to honor those who have passed on without sadness,” she said. “In Mexican culture, coping with grief is considered an important skill in order to develop healthy coping mechanisms.” Attendees are encouraged to dress as sugar skulls, which are colorfully decorated skulls that adorn altars and celebrate the life of those who have passed on. Sugar skulls are traditionally made out of a sugar mixture and decorated with bright frosting and foils. They are likely the most recognizable symbol of the holiday. “My hope is that individuals gain a deeper respect and appreciation for the holiday and learn to cope with grief in a way that celebrates those who are no longer with us,” Blanton said. “We welcome the community to celebrate the holiday respectfully and authentically.” Latin Night Live will also feature live music from Deejay Juarez, a Lexington-based DJ, food from Chuy’s Tacos, drinks, and more. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a photo of their loved one to place on the altar that will be set up at the event. Arts and crafts and a bounce house will be set up for children.