Denton’s annual Day of the Dead Festival has been canceled this year because of COVID-19 concerns.
Since 2011, the festival has welcomed thousands to downtown to celebrate with Denton’s version of the Mexican tradition, also known as Día De Los Muertos. Each year it features food, live music, art, costume contests and coffin-shaped vehicles racing downhill on East Hickory Street. The coffin races bring in riders from all over the state, who even prepare for the competition year-round.
Watch folks in Denton gear up for the holiday with a tradition that sends them racing downhill in vehicles of death. Video: Art&Seek
David Anzaldúa Pierce, founder and creative director, said the event committee wanted to put the health of attendees, vendors and volunteers first.
“As the cases have been spiking in so many of these other states, where wearing masks has become an issue, we just felt that was the writing on the wall,” Anzaldúa Pierce said.
Another staple of the festival is Cirque du Horror, an original Halloween family-friendly musical started in 2009. It was created by Anzaldúa Pierce, who’s also a local composer and musician.
“It’s a big drag, for sure that’s an understatement, but it’s just something that’s so very special and so unique and weird and very specific to this area. To Denton,” Anzaldúa Pierce said.
In 2018, the Twilight Lantern & Costume Parade committee and Artists Enclave of Denton County built the first-ever community altar for the Day of the Dead Festival.
“Through that parade, we have been able to introduce and emphasize elements of the true folkloric history of the religious part of Día De Los Muertos,” Anzaldúa Pierce said.
Community members were invited to bring objects for their loved ones, which included copies of photographs, poems, food, drinks and more. And at twilight, the altar would be illuminated in a parade float.
The festival was scheduled for Oct. 24. Now it won’t take place until 2021.
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