Encinitas to celebrate Dia de los Muertos

Encinitas Friends of the Arts (EFA) and the City of Encinitas are presenting the fifth annual Encinitas Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The free festival takes place on Oct. 27 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive. Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear will make welcoming remarks.

“This city event raises awareness and an appreciation for this significant Latino cultural celebration,” Blakespear said. “Last year’s event drew several thousand people and we anticipate a larger response this year.”

The family-friendly celebration will include continuous performances. Danza Azteca Misión San Luis Rey will bless the Ofrenda with ancient traditional dances, followed by Mariachi Real de San Diego, Ballet Folklorico Rancho Buena Vista High School, Danza Alegre, Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego, and Ballet Folklorico de San Dieguito. The festival ends with singer Rafael Renteria performing songs from the film, Coco, with dancing by Ballet Folklorico El Tapatio. Festival activities include skull face painting, tissue flowers and sugar skull workshops, a Day of the Dead art exhibit by Paul Ecke Central School students, and ladies dressed as “Catrinas” for selfie photos. Outside will be a low rider car show by the Callejeros de Encinitas Car Club, artist demonstrations, vendors and food trucks.

A Community Ofrenda — or remembrance altar — will feature a replica of the Surfing Madonna, by artist Mark Patterson. “Having the Surfing Madonna in the Ofrenda makes this a uniquely Encinitas event,” said Arts Program Administrator Jim Gilliam. All are invited to honor the memory of a loved one or friend by contributing a photograph or non-valuable remembrance to the Ofrenda.

A Community Ofrenda will be on view from Oct. 25 through Nov. 5 in the lobby of the Encinitas Library, located at 540 Cornish Drive, along with a Day of the Dead student exhibit or artwork and altars.

“We’re excited to expand our Day of the Dead week at the library and look forward to the altars that teens and families will make,” said Teen Librarian Diana Minuzzi.

The library will host the Altar Workshop for teens and families on Oct. 25, at 5 p.m., and a Death Café Workshop on Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m.

“People Come together in a relaxed and safe setting to discuss death, drink tea and eat delicious cake,” said Minuzzi. “The objective is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” The workshops are free of charge. Contact the library at 760-753-7376 for details, or visit: www.sdcl.org.

Beatriz Villarreal, program director of the Mano a Mano Foundation, will emcee the Day of the Dead festival. “This is a huge deal for the Latino community,” said Villarreal. “Dia de los Muertos provides people with the opportunity to rejoice in the living memories of their loved ones. It is an important way to celebrate our culture and serves as an educational resource, teaching people around the world about our traditions.” Día de los Muertos, a celebration of life and remembrance, is traditionally celebrated each year on Nov. 1 and 2.

Encinitas Dia de los Muertos is made possible by funding from the City of Encinitas and Mizel Family Foundation Community Grant Program, Encinitas Friends of the Arts, the City of Encinitas, and numerous sponsors.

“Encinitas has the second-highest number of artists per capita in San Diego County and it is a pleasure and a thrill to work with many of them in shaping this event,” said EFA President Naimeh Woodward. “I look forward to highlighting their artistry and celebrating Dia de los Muertos with our community.” The mission of Encinitas Friends of the Arts is to partner with the City of Encinitas by fundraising and advocating for the cultural arts in Encinitas, and for city-owned arts venues. Established by the Encinitas Commission for the Arts in April, 2014, EFA works to elevate arts and culture by presenting cultural programs, arts education and public art. EFA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

For a schedule of events, or for more information, please visit: www.EncinitasArts.org, or call 760-633-2746.

— Submitted news release

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