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6th Annual Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival

Staff Report

Fine Art To Urban Art  And Fun For the Whole Family

The 6th Annual Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival will be held Sunday, October 28, 2018 from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, in and around the Downtown Civic Center and Downey Theatre located at 8435 Firestone Boulevard.

Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is an age-old annual Mexican, Central and South American tradition. A day when the spirits of the dead come back to earth to rejoin with their loved ones, who welcome them by building ofrendas  that include mementos and reminders of the deceased, such as photos, favorite foods, hobbies or music.  Customs include eating the sweet bread pan de muertos, decorating calaveras, face painting, and decorating doorways with colorful papel picado.

The Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival is an opportunity for the large Latin population of the Gateway Cities to share and experience long-held cultural traditions and heritage.

Listed by the L.A. Times as one of the Five Best Dia de Los Muertos events in the Southland, 2018 entertainment, stages and attractions include: Cinema Culturas “From Indio To Downey” short, entertaining films that are relevant to Mexican society, family and culture; arts, crafts and face painting; continuous ballet folklorico and film in the 738-seat theater; a sampling of Mexican music formats will be performed on the Zocalo stage in the Courtyard and variety acts on the Community Stage.

Visitors can peruse the fine art exhibit in the theater lobby, curated by Downey Arts Coalition and wonder at the always popular ‘Urban Art Alley’ featuring 20 foot  tall found art sculptures and the parade of the ten foot Catrinas in the patio, surrounding the fountain.

The Casa Calaveras Experience is a multi-media exhibit which will be held in the Library along with hourly story telling for children of all ages.

Be sure to stroll ‘Car Altar Avenue’ where the merging of Southern California car-art and traditional altars combine as well as Papel picado demonstrations by renowned artisan Aurora Chavez.  Festival goers can make a papel picado luminaria to take home.

Sisters Barbara Valenzuela-Almaraz, Helen Nieto, and Frances Valenzuela, Southern California’s premiere calaveras or sugar skull artisans oversee the skull painting pavilion, providing glitter, paint and decorations.

The Mercado will host approximately 40 vendors selling Dia de Los Muertos themed merchandise and the Negocios de Comunidad will feature community businesses, local merchants, stores, products and services, meeting the public with samples, coupons, and goodies galore.

Food trucks and food carts offer a range of cuisine and price points, shaded picnic areas will be available.

The Festival officially opens with Aztec dancers bringing in good energy and beneficial spirits. Throughout the day Downey Mayor and City Council representatives offer their welcome from the various stages.

Event admission is free and public parking available.

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