Driftless Region’s Día de los Muertos Celebration
A Mexican Cultural & Educational Event
Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a traditional Mexican cultural festival to honor loved ones who have passed away.
This free outdoor celebration offers modalities to honor loved ones and hands-on workshops to engage attendees in Mexican folk art.
The 2023 Driftless Día de los Muertos Celebration will be held Saturday, October 7th from 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM.
Please help us to continue this tradition in the Driftless Community.
Ofrenda or Altar
A community altar or ofrenda will be constructed during the October 7th festival. Attendees are encouraged to bring a photograph, object, or a favorite food of a loved one who has passed away to place on the Ofrenda. Other traditional items include candles, marigolds, paper mache skulls, and natural elements.
This year’s ofrenda dedication will be announced soon.
Mexican Folk Artists, Andrea Muñiz, Gloria Alatorre, and Gabriela Marván will share the meaning of the ofrenda and guide participants in placing items on the alter.
Marigolds or Cempasúchil are the ceremonial flowers for the Día de los Muertos celebration. The fragrance is said to lead souls back to their loved ones. Keewaydin Farms will plant around 5,000 giant marigolds for the 3rd Annual Celebration, along with purple accent flowers like celosia and lavender.
Calaveritas de Azúcar or Sugar Skulls
Calaveritas de azúcar or sugar skulls are a traditional way to commemorate a person you wish to honor for Día de los Muertos. A sugar skull represents a departed soul and spirits of the dead are welcomed back to their homes. The skulls are made from sugar and egg and placed in molds to form the shape of the calavera. Once the sugar hardens into shape, the skulls can be decorated with frosting.
Design Collaboration with Julieta Zavala
Guest artist, Julieta Zavala will collaborate with Gabriela Marván, Yesica Coria, and a group of volunteers to design and create dresses for 3 life-sized paper mache Catrinas which will be presented at the October 7th celebration and then travel on exhibition to the Pump House Regional Arts Center in La Crosse and the Latino Ats Inc in Milwaukee. La Catrina is an icon of Día de los Muertos.
Julieta will have art for sale at the festival.
Guest artist, Adam Correa, will lead participants in a painting tutorial and demonstration, presenting various ways to contribute to the mural, including simple stenciling which is accessible to all abilities. The mural will focus on a Mexican folk art theme in alignment with the ofrenda dedication.
Corn Husk Flowers
Guest Artist, Yesica Coria, will present a workshop on how to make corn husk cempasúchil (marigold) flowers during the October 7th celebration. The flowers will be created from corn grown on Keewaydin Farms and naturally dyed with turmeric by student volunteers. Attendees can place their flowers on the Ofrenda to honor a loved one.
Yesica will have art for sale at the festival.
Aztec Dance Performance
Guest artist, Alejandra Jiménez Marván, will perform a traditional Aztec Dance at the October 7th celebration. Ale will also give a talk about the meaning of the dance.
Bilingual Storytime & Loteria Game
The Consulate of Mexico in Milwaukee will present a traditional Lotería game for the community during the October 7th celebration.
The McIntosh Memorial Library will present a Bilingual story time and assist with kids activities.
All ages are welcome to join.
Tortilleria Zepeda Nixtamal Presentation
Local food artisans Julian and Heidi Zepeda, owners of Tortilleria Zepeda, will present a culinary demonstration during the October 7th celebration. They will show attendees the nixtamal process of making tortillas. Nixtamalization is a traditional process in Mexico whereby corn is treated with lime, cooked, and dried and ground to produce the flour used to make tortillas.
Zepeda will have tortillas for sale at the festival.
Kids Art &
Alejandra Jiménez Marván and her husband Miguel from Semillitas – Spanish in Nature in Milwaukee will lead children’s art activities and perform a puppet show. Semillitas is a program which teaches children Spanish language through nature, games, songs, puppet shows, arts and crafts.
Live Music by Jessica Rodríguez
Jessica Rodríguez is a Mexican American artist from Chicago. She is the founder of The Braided Janes, a band who advocates for social change. She will play music around the closing fire at the October 7th Celebration.
Dave X will give a fireworks presentation to end the evening of the October 7th celebration.
All Are Welcome
There is no cost for entry and workshops are free at this outdoor event.
Two food vendors accept cash and serve all day. Artists accept cash for art purchases.
No credit transactions. No ATM available. No pets allowed. Camping available.