Hangin' with the Homies: Dade Gathers to Support Its Own at Festival of Life

There was live music all day long at the fourth annual Dade Festival of Life on Saturday, but probably nobody wanted to follow this act: The cuteness quotient was seriously high when the Davis School Chorus took the stage around lunchtime.

The FOL is a fundraiser staged locally to benefit local residents with life-changing illnesses. This year's beneficiaries were cancer battlers Karen Gass and Brenda

Kesler Gass. Organizer Cindy Cross, shown at left emceeing, had no figures to share on Monday, but turnout had been high and collections good, she said.

"Our two ladies have been blessed," Ms. Cross commented Monday afternoon. "Love our community of big ole loving hearts."

The Dade Public Library staged a health/wellness fair in conjunction with the festival. Library manager Marshana Sharp (right) and volunteer Audrey Clark of TVN pose below on the Mary Ellen Locher Breast Cancer Center mammogram bus, an important part of the fair.

They said that the while mammograms may not sound up there with cotton candy and funnel cakes among popular festival treats, the bus stayed busy all day. They stressed that not having insurance or ready cash need not prevent women from getting tested: The breast center receives grants to cover the under- and uninsured. For more information, call (423) 495-6744.

But speaking of festival treats, here's a new one on The Planet: Fried Oreos at the Dade Marching Band site. In the South, just about anything that doesn't run away fast enough is fair game for the deep fryer, but The Planet thought fried deviled eggs and fried pickles about covered the most unimaginable examples of the cuisine. Nope. What's next? Fried banana splits? Don't answer that!

More recognizable as food, but still exotic enough to be a treat in rural Dade County, was Mexican fare from local restaurant Los Tres Amigos.

Leah Rodas (right) posing here with employee Jessica Vasquez, explained that like all the food vendors at the fair, the 3 Amigos stall charged only free-will donations for its fare. Vendors retained only enough of the proceeds to pay any employees dishing up. The rest goes to the fundraising effort. It's a way, explained Ms. Rodas, local merchants can participate in the community.

Below, in one of the more interesting stalls of the health fair, RN Lori Savini performs "lymphatic therapy" on local resident Marilyn Wallin. People, like gardeners, explained Ms. Savini, need a suitable pH balance to thrive. Lymphatic therapy helps reduce acidity in the system and maintain good health.

Ms. Savini had saliva swab strips that tested pH, and it may not surprise readers that The Planet's acidity level was rather spectacularly high.

For more information on the therapy, readers may call Ms. Savini at (423) 667-5542.

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