The organizers of the annual Dia de Los Muertos gala in Patchogue say this year’s installment will be the biggest one yet.

The fundraiser to support Patchogue’s historic Lakeview Cemetery is being moved from the Patchogue Family YMCA grounds to the massive Stereo Garden venue on Railroad Avenue.

Jacqueline Hensley of W.M.J. O’Neill’s in Patchogue spearheaded the initial efforts in 2016 for the Cemetery Restoration Committee, and is still a lead organizer for this year’s gala.

The date is Saturday, Oct. 27, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Click here for tickets.

“[Dia de los Muertos] has become a multi-cultural phenomenon,” Hensley told GreaterPatchogue. “You’re celebrating the lives of people who have passed on, so what better holiday than this to remember all those people [buried in Lakeview] who made Patchogue great and helped shape what it is today?”

All proceeds from the night, which is $65 per ticket, go to the upkeep of the cemetery at Waverly Avenue and West Main Street. The committee is hoping to attract 300 people on Oct. 27.

Attendees will get plenty of food and drinks that include unlimited beer, wine, sangria and a special margarita offering, according to the organizers. Other liquor drinks will be extra.

Makeup artists will be on hand to paint sugar skulls on attendees faces for a small fee — and on a first-come, first-served basis. Benny Migliorino of Benny Migs Photo will be shooting portraits for $20 each, with all of that money going to the cemetery restoration committee.

Bellport Arts & Framing Studio will be offering special frames as well.

And in true Mexican fashion, there’s an alter being designed and installed by Beth Giacummo on behalf of the Patchogue Arts Council, and artist Jessie (Ratgrrl) Valentin from Muñeca Arthouse in Patchogue.

Hensley said even though Catholics recognize All Saints Day in the U.S., typically there are no events surrounding the religious holiday. “And Halloween is more of a kids thing,” she said.

video by Benny Migliorino/Benny Migs Photo

about Lakeview

Lakeview Cemetery is actually several burial grounds that are clustered together, containing over 1,200 graves. Among the buried are veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War.  

The graves of notable historic figures in the history of Patchogue and Suffolk County are also located here. Restoration efforts began in the early 1990s. 

Click here to read more.

“If no one is there to maintain that cemetery, then it will go to ruin and become a community eyesore, as it was in the past,” Hensley said. “You wouldn’t want to see a loved one’s final resting place abandoned. This is the respect they deserve and it’s important to keep their memories alive.”

Michele Cayea and Colleen Mary. Makeup by Fabulous Faces by Kellie. Photo Credit: Benny Migs Photo