The Mesa Arts Center campus, 1 E. Main St., will host a celebration of the memory of departed loved ones with the annual Día de los Muertos Festival Oct. 23-24.
There is no charge to attend the Día de los Muertos Festival and parking is free. The event is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24. The opening and closing ceremony will be live-streamed via Mesa Arts Center’s Facebook page and website, according to a release.
Telemundo Arizona News Anchor Paola Morales will kick off the free festival at 10 a.m. Oct. 23. The closing ceremony Oct. 24 will include Jorge Mendoza Yescas, consul general of Mexico; and Mesa Mayor John Giles.
The festival will offer a nonstop schedule of live entertainment, participatory hands-on art-making 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 local artisans and vendors, the release states.
In the spirit of traditional Día de los Muertos festivities, a community altar designed by artist Monica Gisel Crespo will be the centerpiece for the festival, where attendees can leave mementos in honor of their loved ones who have passed. Photographs will be collected and replaced on the altar each year.
In addition to the community altar, altars by local artists and organizations will be displayed in shop windows on Main Street. Participants include Marco Albarrán, Luis Estrada, Jose Benavides, Sharon Ann Hagen, Oliviero Balcells, Project Lit with Dr. Matthew Sandoval, Winona Fox, Edgar Fernandes, Andrea Myton and Mesa Sister Cities. Participating businesses include Nunthaporn’s Thai, Le Salon, Main Street Harvest, Sonoran Moon Vintage, Jarrod’s Coffee, Atomic Age, Soul Center, Margarita’s Grille, 101 Gallery and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Festival participants of all ages are invited to participate in the free hands-on activities, including making paper flowers, wood skull decorating and Marigold planting with MABEL. To honor and remember more than 19,000 people lost to the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona, an immersive installation of paper marigolds, created by the community, will be installed on the Mesa Arts Center campus. Festivalgoers can also enjoy face painting inspired by the Day of the Dead and live art studio demonstrations.
The festival will culminate in a performance and an open procession to the community altar led by Mariachi Pasion at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24. 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.
SRP is the presenting sponsor of the Día de los Muertos Festival. Additional festival support is provided by the city of Mesa, Consulate General of Mexico, Crescent Crown Distributing, DPR Construction, First Things First, Food City, Modelo, Primavera Online School, 93.3 Alt AZ, 100.7 KSLX, Telemundo, Oscar, Phoenix New Times, Hornitos and We Are Human partnership “A Fair Shot.”
Go to mesaartscenter.com.