On Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23, from noon to 5 p.m., the Mesa Arts Center campus will host a celebration of the memory of departed loved ones with the annual Dia de los Muertos Festival.
The free festival will offer a nonstop schedule of live entertainment, participatory children’s activities, traditional face painting, a wide variety of food options, studio demonstrations, and a Mercado Marketplace, featuring traditional and contemporary merchandise, jewelry, and Mexican arts and crafts from over thirty local artisans and vendors.
“At Mesa Arts Center, we look forward to the annual Dia de los Muertos Festival as a way to celebrate the traditions of the Day of the Dead Holiday, which isn’t meant to be scary at all. Rather, it’s a beautiful tradition that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed,” said Casey Blake, director of public relations for the Mesa Arts Center and a member of the festival planning committee. “We invite everyone to discover and enjoy the traditions of this holiday through a two-day event with music, entertainment, an artist Mercado Marketplace, altars, delicious foods and more!”
In the spirit of traditional Dia de los Muertos festivities, a community altar designed by artist Kyllan Maney will be the centerpiece for the festival, where attendees can leave mementos in honor of their loved ones who have passed. Altars created by community groups, schools and families will also be on display for a festival contest sponsored by the Mexican Consulate and Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens.
In the Bookmans Family Activity area festival participants of all ages are invited to decorate a traditional sugar skull. Families can also enjoy the Circus Americana Stiltwalkers, performances by juggler James Reid, and live graffiti art by artists Such and Champ Styles.
The festival will culminate in a performance and an open procession to the Community Altar led by Mariachi Pasion at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26. Mesa Arts Center’s studios will offer free demonstrations throughout the festival and The Store, an artists cooperative and gallery will also be open and offering Day of the Dead themed items.
There is no charge to attend the Dia de los Muertos Festival, and parking is free. Mesa Arts Center is located at One East Main Street in downtown Mesa.