Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Comes Alive for Day of the Dead

| September 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

Visitors of Old Town San Diego can get their faces painted to join in on the festivities.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be the scene for Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, traditionally celebrated throughout Mexico and San Diego November 1 and 2 each year. This year the festivities will begin Thursday, Nov. 1 and extend through the weekend ending Sunday, Nov. 4.

Dia de los Muertos is a community-wide celebration of the history, Hispanic culture and rich heritage of the region. It is at this time of year that the spirits of loved ones who have died are thought to return to earth to celebrate with friends and family.

The state park will play host to a lively celebration full of activities and attractions for the whole family that will be a fitting tribute to those who have gone before us. A professional artist will be painting a gigantic Day of the Dead skull in the middle of the park and a second skull will be available on which the public can paint a small tribute to a loved one. There will also be a public altar on which visitors can place remembrances, many craft stations, a prize wheel, live entertainment, two Saturday performances of a specially written Dia de los Muertos play with professional actors, and booths featuring artists, Day of the Dead merchandise, food and drink samples, tamales, face painters and more.

New this year, will be a vibrant Dia de los Muertos parade around the state park plaza on Saturday, November 3 at 5 p.m. featuring many local groups and led by a very special guest, Bertha Romero Sandoval, a student of Diego Rivera and the first person to ever dress up as La Catrina. She has chosen this celebration to be her final performance of La Catrina.

Larger-than-life puppets will roam the park and pinatas will rule the day for kids. Merchants and museums in the state park will host activities and many will be displaying altars dedicated to noteworthy San Diegans created especially for the celebration. An altar map will be available for those wishing to tour them all and hosted tours with state park guides will be available on Saturday and Sunday. A very popular activity that has grown each year, will be the Sidewalk Graveyard Community Art project on November 1 and 2 where the public can memorialize a loved one or friend in chalk on the sidewalk in the middle of the park.

Adult visitors who wish to raise a glass to the departed can do so in a beer garden and live entertainment will fill the park stage. There will be a very popular Catrin y Catrina Costume Contest on the plaza stage on Saturday.

As is the custom every year, the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard at the north end of the state park will be full of fanciful, humorous, and visually stimulating décor, offered as tributes to many of San Diego’s early citizens. Many life-sized Catrina skeleton dolls in fancy dress, and many larger-than-life size, hold court at Fiesta de Reyes throughout the fall season. New displays are added every year, each one trying to outdo the last, so this is not to be missed. This year, there will be more than 50 unique Dia de los Muertos displays in Fiesta de Reyes,

Lively folklorico dancers, dressed in Dia de los Muertos costumes, will be performing on the Fiesta de Reyes stage throughout the celebration, starting on Thursday, November 1 and continuing through Sunday, November 4.

The activities in the state park start at noon each day and go until 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 4 p.m. on Sunday. The party will continue in the Fiesta de Reyes plaza until 9 p.m. on Thursday, 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and until 9 p.m. on Sunday. Free parking is available throughout Old Town with extra parking available across Taylor Street in the CalTrans parking lot all day on weekend days and after 5 p.m. on weekdays. Additional paid lots will be available also.

For information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.fiestadereyes.com/ddlm.

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