Despite its ominous name, Day of the Dead is a celebration of life and it's coming to Lake Elsinore again this year in the form of a giant block party in historic downtown.
Otherwise known as Dia de los Muertos, the holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to commemorate the lives of the departed and welcome the return of their spirits.
Day of the Dead is particularly celebrated in Mexico and Central America, as well as in Latino communities throughout the United States.
In Lake Elsinore this year, the celebration takes place Nov. 1, along Main Street, from 5-10 p.m. Don't expect a somber atmosphere! There will be traditional dancers, including local Ballet Folklorico; live music performed by various local acts; free “Day of the Dead” face painting courtesy of Lakeside High School theater students; local vendors; and hand-crafted community altars.
The altars will honor the departed and will be beautifully adorned with sugar skulls, marigolds, as well as favorite foods and beverages of those who have passed.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the memories of those that have passed away," according to a news release forwarded by City of Lake Elsinore spokeswoman Nicole Dailey on behalf of Studio 395. "Everyone is welcome to create an altar or even add to some of the community altars that we will have on the street."
This year's celebration is a joint effort between Studio 395, the city, and Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce. Studio 395, a group of local artists, hosted the event last year that saw high turn out (click here for news coverage from the 2012 event). With the chamber and the city on board, it's expected the 2013 celebration may be even bigger than last year.
The goal this year, the news release stated, is to "increase the footprint for this event."
In order to safely accommodate the musical entertainers who will be performing at Friday night's celebration, the city will be closing the south end of Graham Street at Main Street for the stage that is being co-sponsored by Lake Elsinore's A Better Party.
"Our apologies for any inconvenience this might cause the local residents during the event," the news release stated.
All the music and entertainment is donated by the various local performers ("a big thanks to Sal and Isela for booking and performing the entertainment," the news release read).
Learn more about Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, by clicking here.