La Luz Center hosted the annual community celebration for Dia de los Muertos with a festive gathering amid decorations, music and dancing.
Friends and families celebrated the beautiful evening around the decorated outdoor gazebo in the Booker Hall patio area. Many guests arrived in painted Catrina faces, costumes and all came ready for a happy celebration on November 2.
After lively conversation and refreshments, the Booker Hall porch became the stage for amazing music and dance performances as guests were entertained by Mariachi Los Gallos and the talented Ballet Folklorico Quetzalen dancers in colorful costume.
The local Folklorico group received funding support from La Luz for a dance instructor that enabled this year’s expanded number of participants and repertoire of dances. As the evening progressed, guests jumped on the stage to join in festive dancing to the lively Mariachi tunes.
Angie Sanchez, La Luz Community Engagement Manager, noted the turnout for this year’s community celebration was double previous years and added, “La Luz is happy to incorporate culture and community into one event and it’s beautiful to see multi-generational families continuing to share and learn about our rooted traditions.”
Community members from Vintage House, the El Verano Family Resource Center, Paychex North Bay, Donor Network West and Sonoma Ecology Center were among those that created colorful Dia de los Muertos altars on display in Booker Hall beneath papel picado banners. Booker Hall was alive with children creating masks and pictures with art supplies from Art Van Gough and volunteers from Art Escape.
Sonoma Ecology Center provided brilliant Marigold flowers grown from seeds their staff members planted in their garden in early summer. La Luz staff served hot chocolate, and sweet pan de Muertos. Wine was donated by Robledo Winery. Delicious Mexican fare was available from Taqueria El Paisa and items from a Artesania Mexicana market shop were offered for purchase.
New activities this year included: free face painting by Normando Ramirez, Dia de los Muertos theme loteria games hosted by Vintage House, and a display of value words from the prior evening’s workshop conducted by Sonoma artist Peter Hassen through a Creative Sonoma Pop Up Creativity Grant.
Sanchez is planning an even larger event next year and will launch a committee with community partners to plan the annual celebration. “Save the Date: Saturday, November 2nd, 2019.”