Encinitas hosts Dia de los Muertos Day of the Dead Celebration Oct. 26

Ballet Folklorico de San Dieguito and Ballet Folklorico el Tapatio with director Nadia Arumbula at the 2018 Encinitas Dia de los Muertos. This year’s event, put on by the City of Encinitas and the Encinitas Friends of the Arts, takes place Oct. 26 at the Encinitas Community Center.

Encinitas Friends of the Arts (EFA) and the City of Encinitas will hold the sixth annual Encinitas Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). A time when families gather to honor and remember deceased loved ones, Dia de los Muertos is a significant Latino cultural celebration. The free festival takes place on Saturday, Oct. 26, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, Encinitas, 92024.

Dia de los Muertos will feature a variety of performances and will be emceed by Mano a Mano Foundation Program Director Beatriz Villarreal. The event commences with Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear making welcoming remarks. Performances begin with Danza Azteca Misión San Luis Rey blessing the Ofrenda with ancient traditional dances. This will be followed by Mariachi estrellas de Chula Vista, Ballet Folklorico Rancho Buena Vista High School, Mariachi Del Mar and Danza Alegre.

The festival ends with singer Chuy “El Chente” Moreno performing songs from the film, Coco, with dancing by Ballet Folklorico de San Dieguito and the public.

Festival activities include skull face painting, tissue flowers and sugar skull workshops, a Day of the Dead art exhibit by Oak Crest Middle School students, a selfie station with ladies dressed as “Catrinas,” and opportunity drawings for laptop computers and more. Outdoor festivities include a low rider car show by the Callejeros de Encinitas Car Club, artist demonstrations, vendors, and food trucks with options ranging from ice cream to tamales.

A Community Ofrenda—or remembrance altar—will feature a replica of the Surfing Madonna by artist Mark Patterson. “Having the Surfing Madonna in the Ofrenda makes this a uniquely Encinitas event,” said Encinitas Arts Program Administrator Jim Gilliam. All are invited to honor the memory of a loved one or friend by contributing a photograph or non-valuable remembrance to the Ofrenda.

Leading up to Dia de los Muertos, the Encinitas Library will hold two additional free events: Death Café, Tuesday Oct. 22, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.; and La Fiesta, Thursday, Oct. 24, 4-6 p.m. “We’re excited to add La Fiesta to this year’s Day of the Dead celebration,” said Branch Librarian Jayne Henn. “The Encinitas Library event will feature live music by Carlos Velasco and Kevin Moraine and art-making workshops by Luis Murguia while we install the huge Community Ofrenda remembrance altar. It’s going to be a true community collaboration!”

Returning this year, The Death Café, “is a time for people to come together in a relaxed and supportive setting to discuss death, taking the fear out of it, while drinking tea and eating delicious cake,” said Teen Librarian Diana Minuzzi. “The objective is to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

A Community Ofrenda will be on view from Oct. 24 through Nov. 4 in the lobby of the Encinitas Library, located at 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas, 92024, along with a Day of the Dead student exhibit or artwork and altars. Contact the library at (760) 753-7376 for details, or visit:

Encinitas Dia de los Muertos is made possible by funding from the City of Encinitas Community Grant Program, Encinitas Friends of the Arts, the City of Encinitas, County of San Diego, and numerous sponsors.