Dia de los Muertos Celebrations in the San Fernando Valley and L.A.

Whatever end of the San Fernando Valley you may live in, there is a Dia de los Muertos event that you can attend.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, a community-based Dia de los Muertos event will be held from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Recreation Park in the City of San Fernando.

“Even if you haven’t reserved a space to set up an altar, we will have spaces available for anyone who wishes to create one,” said Virginia Diediker, cultural arts supervisor.

“Those interested in building an altar can begin to set them up between 10 a.m. and noon,” she said.

The San Fernando event is described as “free and community spun,“ supported by many volunteer workers and a large team of volunteer artists, musicians and dancers. This event attempts to keep true to the spirit of the holiday with an emphasis on the altars and those residents who come to the park to use the space to build a public altar to their loved ones.

The San Fernando event also focuses on artists, both visual and performing. Julia Martinez, an artist herself, is facilitating the many talented chalk artists who are creating large sidewalk images to coincide with the this year’s theme, ‘Rock N Roll Heaven.’

Chalk artists begin to draw early in the morning and by noon when people arrive, there are large impressive installations that become a walking exhibit of images and portraits of people the artist has chosen to honor and remember.

There will also be an art exhibit on display of work by area high school and college students.

“The chalk art is beautiful to see,” Diediker said. “We’ve lost so many great musicians recently and this acknowledges them and their lifetime of work.”

Entertainers throughout the day will include the homegrown Mariachi Tesoro student musicians, a JAM dance session, Youngsters from Ballet Folklorico San Fernando, Ballet Folklorico Ollin, and Ballet Folklorico Tia Chucha’s Cultural.

There will be free face painting and art section for kids who will create Dia de los Muertos masks and other culturally relevant crafts.

“What also makes our event unique is our concern for the community,” said Ismael Aguila, Recreation and Community Services director.

“We commemorate Dia de los Muertos as part of our city’s ‘Healthy San Fernando!’ campaign, and are encouraging people at this event to stop at the booths that are providing information on nutrition and health,” Aguila said. “We are having people move and dance along throughout the day to encourage healthy eating and active living.”

“It will be a wonderful, meaningful day at the park,” Diediker said

CSUN student members of MEChA are holding their annual Dia de los Muertos event Thursday and Friday, Oct. 27 and 28, at the Chicano House at CSUN.

This year they will be acknowledging the stories of unaccompanied minors. A procession will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday for Noche de Ofrendas, a night of remembrance and a viewing of the altars and ofrendas. and On Friday the Dia de los Muertos event will begin at 6 p.m. with a night of celebration, food and live music.

There will be a Dia de los Muertos Family Festival in Canoga Park on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. Located on Sherman Way, between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Canoga Avenue, the park has held this event for the last 16 years. This event is free and more of a street festival, including a car show and Catrina contest.

In Los Angeles, The downtown Olvera Street Merchants have started their annual Dia de los Muertos celebration, which is running now throughout the weekend and includes elaborate night time processions.

Community altars are on display, and merchant family altars are in shop windows for people to observe and reflect upon. There will be Aztec dancers, art workshops, musicians and a continuous lineup of entertainment throughout the weekend.

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