Celebrating life and all that they have been through, Mardi Gras kicked off this weekend in the River City with Central Illinois Friends celebrating their 30 year anniversary.
The event was filled with plenty of food and drink, face painting, photo booths, a live auction, and of course beads and masks.
Central Illinois Friends is a regional non-profit committed to preventing the spread of HIV through education and support for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Executive Director, Deric Kimler, said we've come a long way but there is still a lot of negative stigmas surrounding HIV.
"The real issue is our tongue and saying things that are uneducated and falsifying the narrative to where people would rather not ask and do the wrong things rather than ask the right questions." said Kimler
At the event the organization gave their annual award made to honor one of the founders of Central Illinois Friends who lived with HIV and worked tirelessly to educate the Central Illinois Community.