Local cities celebrate Dia De Los Muertos

Celebrate Dia De Los Muertos at one of three celebrations happening throughout the county, including a Dinuba dance, a Lindsay market and a Visalia event

DINUBA – This fall, Dinuba’s Alta District Historical Society (ADHS) is holding their first ever Dia De Los Muertos event; meanwhile, Lindsay is gearing up to bring in more cultural traditions to their festive market and the Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce continues their tradition of holding its event in downtown Visalia.

ADHS’ fundraising dance will be held on Oct. 21, from 6-10 p.m. at the historical society itself, and will feature live music, food vendors, a silent auction of community donated items and, finally, a costume contest.

“The city (of Dinuba) has been wanting us to do something to show (our support) of the culture,” said Isabel Anguiano, an ADHS board member. “We’re doing it at the historical society, which is a very nice venue. It’s outdoors, it’s shady and it’s just a beautiful place.”

Tickets for the event, which Anguiano noted is for ages 21 and over and will have a bar, can be purchased in advance at the Dinuba City Chamber office or at the door during the event.

“We’re encouraging people to dress up for the occasion,” she said in regards to the costume contest. “Ultimately, we want everybody to have a good time, (we) just have to hope that the weather cooperates; it’s been nice out, but we’ll see.”

According to Anguiano, the chamber and the ADHS are hoping for over a hundred people to turnout for the celebration. While they have yet to know how many tickets will be purchased at the doors of the event, they’ve already sold several tables to various community clubs.

“Our goal is 120, and we’re working on it,” she said. “We’re probably halfway there (thanks) to the tables we’ve sold to most of our community clubs. That’s a good thing about the community – they get together and they help us out.”

The Alta District Historical Society’s primary purpose is to “encourage and promote the study of the history and culture of the surrounding areas; (they) collect, classify and publish historical information, data, facts and folklore with reference to our local area,” according to the organization themselves.

In addition to their annual fundraising events, such as the Dia De Los Muertos dance, the ADHS often holds tours of their museum, typically to students in the third grade.

“We have a lot of old stuff there (that) tells the history of our city,” Anguiano said. “We have things from Rose Ann Vuich (California’s first female state senator) like an outfit she used to wear (often).”

Should the day of the dead dance be a hit, the ADHS hopes it can become an annual event; perhaps one that would allow them to team up with another local organization.

“We think it could be really fun,” said Sandy Sills, the ADHS treasurer. “We have a group in Dinuba… who are attempting to do a (similar) event, so we’re thinking we could try to do something with them next year.”

MAS FIESTAS

The ADHS isn’t the only organization planning to put on their first day of the dead event, Lindsay’s Friday night markets also plan to incorporate the holiday into their fall festivities for the first time on Oct. 27.

“We’re bringing some of the Oaxacan culture to our market on that night,” said Virignia Loya, the organizer of the market. “We’re having la danza de los diablos (a Oaxacan dance tradition), and folklórico dancers, as well as a Halloween trick-or-treating… we’re also going to have la catrina, the winner gets a $200 prize for it.”

While the market has been going on since 2004, being held every Friday night from March to the end of October, this is only the second year la catrina has been incorporated and the first year they’ve drawn upon the Oxacan culture.

“I just started doing La Catrina — the day of the dead — last year,” Loya said. “This is the first time we’re bringing in the Oxacan culture, which we have a lot of in the area.”

According to Loya, no matter the time of year, the market always features a variety of food and live music, making it a very family-oriented occasion.

“We gather up to 4,000 people every Friday night,” she said. “Different people come at different times; we get a lot of kids on the last market of October because of Halloween (and) last year we had a lot of people dress up and compete for la catrina.”

La Catrina will also be found at the Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s (TKHCOC) annual Dia De Los Muertos event, which will be held around church street in Visalia on Nov. 3, from 5:30-10 p.m.

“We’ll have different activities going on, as well as live music and La Catrina out and about, taking photos and walking around the event,” said Criselda Ibarra, the executive director of the TKHCOC. “We have had  a great turnout (in past years), and this year we were partnered with several different organizations including the arts consortium.”

The Visalia Arts Consortium, an organization that promotes and provides opportunities to create and celebrate the arts, will have various artist’s work featured around the event, which will be free to enter to anyone interested in checking it out.

“It’s a very fun, family-oriented evening of music and socializing,” Ibarra said. “We’re still looking for sponsors, which can be anyone who’s interested in supporting us and the event, or they can just come out and enjoy the evening.”

More information about the various day of the dead celebrations can be found on sites such as dinubachamber.com’s event page for the ADHS dance, thelindsaychamber.com/dia-de-los-muertos for the friday night market, and mytkhcc.org/dia-de-los-muertos for the Visalia event.

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