MARICOPA — This month at the Salsa Night Market the public can go and honor their loved ones who have passed on by bringing their favorite things to place at an “ofrenda” cultural display.

The organization brings awareness to the Hispanic community in Pinal County. It’s very active and helps these communities with vaccines if they want one, voter registration and more. It is volunteer-run.

An ofrenda is an altar honoring lost loved ones. Offerings are placed on the ofrenda to help people learn about, remember and celebrate lives.

Ofrendas are dedicated during the Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos festivities, Nov. 1-2. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, this display will be at the market.

Julia Gusse, LFI board member, has been a resident of Maricopa for years. She used to be a part of the Maricopa City Council.

She helped LFI be a part of the market this year. It wasn’t really a part of Maricopa before.

Gusse works for the Maricopa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and enjoys collaborating with businesses throughout Pinal County. She was a part of the initial board and has helped it operate for the past three years.

They used to do social events before COVID every other month to help people connect with the Hispanic community.

Maricopa was known for hosting Salsa Festivals, but when COVID hit, it changed to the Salsa Night Market and other smaller events throughout the year.

When asked to collaborate, LFI board members felt the ofrenda was the “ideal cultural representation to honor loved ones during Hispanic Heritage Month.”

LFI invites the public to participate by bringing an item their loved ones enjoyed while here on Earth to display.

They encourage the public to collect their items from the display before they leave the event.

The Salsa Night Market will be held at Copper Sky Regional Park on Sept. 25 from 6-10 p.m.

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Kimlye Stager covers Maricopa and the surrounding area for PinalCentral, including city, education, business, crime and more. She can be reached at kstager@pinalcentral.com.