October 24, 2003

Mainstreet Oceanside Hosts Third Annual Día de los Muertos Street fair

On Sunday, November 2nd, MainStreet Oceanside (MSO) will host its third annual street fair to celebrate the colorful Mexican cultural holiday, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. This year’s celebration features traditional ofrendas (altars) exhibits, norteño and latino music, mariachis, food, “baile folclórico” dancing, and activities for children. Nationally acclaimed artist Roland Crump designed this year’s playful signature art.

Mexico’s ancient tradition, Día de los Muertos, celebrates the lives of deceased loved ones and pokes fun at death as a way of reminding us of the beauty of life and the inevitability of death. Elaborate ofrendas or altars created by local Oaxacan families are built to honor and highlight the lives of the departed. They are decorated with marigold flowers as well as photographs, favorite foods, and artful memorabilia. Whimsical skeleton figures portray the deceased’s favorite pastimes. Brightly colored sugar candy skulls and paper cutouts ornament the altars. A chalk cemetery allows all visitors to graphically remember and honor their loved ones. Workshops to decorate your own sugar skull or festive hat will be offered.

World known Chicano artist David Avalos will create an original ofrenda. Cal State San Marcos students will participate in creating altars. The Salsa Club from CSUSM and Palomar College multicultural students led by John Valdez will provide street entertainment. Professor Carlos von Son from Cal State San Marcos will conduct cultural tours of the altar-building displays and give a free presentation that explains the historic context as well as the modern adaptation of the celebration of Dia in the United States.

Modern Dia art by Roland Crump will be shown at the MSO Phantom Gallery (in Artist’s Alley, just off Pier View Way), and the Oceanside Civic Center Library will display unique traditional Día folk art collected by Deirdre Shannon a teacher at LCCHS. Approximately 30,000 marigolds will be used to decorate the ofrendas and turn Pier View Way into a Mexican courtyard. Mike Mellano of Mellano and Company (prominent area flower growers) grew the marigolds for this year’s festival.

“We are delighted to sponsor this joyful, enchanting event, Día de los Muertos,” said Kim Heim, executive director of MainStreet Oceanside. “We invite everyone to join us and experience a tradition that celebrates life.”

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