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New Events Make San Antonio's Day of the Dead Celebration Largest in the U.S.

David Gonzalez |

SAN ANTONIO, TX (Sept. 16, 2019) – San Antonio is renowned for its lively atmosphere and colorful cultural events. This year, the city’s Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities are hitting an all-time high as new offerings join dozens of annual events, creating the largest celebration of the holiday in the U.S.

Dating back to pre-Columbian times, Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday when people celebrate their deceased loved ones. Participants create festive altars adorned with photographs, food and other gifts associated with the holiday such as marigolds, incense and candles to honor those who have passed. It’s said that on Nov. 1 and 2, the distance between the living and the dead is at its closest point creating a special moment to share memories and send wishes to dearly departed family and friends.

Taking place Oct. 26 through Nov. 3, San Antonio’s festivities include events big and small, some going back more than 40 years, with traditional altars, live music, Mexican cuisine and parades, many of which are family friendly and free and open to the public. Restaurants, cafes and cultural institutions across the city will showcase altars, customary décor and fresh-baked pan de muerto, a sweet bread that’s a traditional offering.

Día de Los Muertos (Oct. 26-27): For its seventh year, this celebration, also known as Muertos Fest, has expanded to a new location at Hemisfair in the heart of downtown. The free, family-friendly event features the largest open altar exhibition in the city along with live music on two stages, original Day of the Dead art, a drum and puppet procession, poetry readings and more. The fest was named one of the 10 Great Day of the Dead Celebrations by USA Today and the second best Día de Muertos Celebration in the country by Tripping.com.

Day of the Dead San Antonio (Nov. 1-3): The historic La Villita neighborhood will serve as home to the new Day of the Dead San Antonio celebration. The three-day program includes artistic displays, activities for children, musical performances, a suite of gastronomical treats, a beer garden and Spirits Bar, dancing and opportunities to learn about the historic and cultural importance of the celebration. Additional Day of the Dead San Antonio events include:

  • Catrineras on the River (Nov. 1) – The kick-off to Day of the Dead San Antonio will dress the city’s famous river barges in the colorful hallmarks of the holiday for a floating parade down the River Walk. The parade ends with a performance of “La Danza de Las Mojigangas” at the Arneson River Theatre.
  • Celebrating Life 5 Run-Walk (Nov. 2) – Participants receive a race kit including a skeleton t-shirt, water bottle, and finisher medal. Runners also will have the opportunity to get their faces painted by a team of makeup artists before the race.

Cultural Exhibitions:

  • The Witte Museum’s Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids (Sept. 28 – Jan. 12) – Part of this exhibition, which explores the science and history of the world’s most popular imaginary creatures, will include a section on Alebrijes, brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of mythical creatures, from Oct. 22 – Nov. 16.
  • Mexicraneos Street (Oct. 15 – Nov. 15) – A series of sculptural skulls encompass a street art exhibition along Houston Street and around the new Frost Bank building in downtown San Antonio.
  • The Tobin Center’s Cinema on the Plaza (Oct. 25) – The free monthly family movie series will feature a special showing of the popular “Coco” feature film. Movie viewers also will enjoy Cabezones, large skulls decorated for the celebration, along with festive Catrinas, music and food.
  • San Antonio Museum of Art Family Day (Nov. 3) – The Museum invites children and their families to explore the collections, create art, and share Sundays together in this specially themed Dia de los Muertos day.

Mala Luna (Oct. 26-27): This EDM and hip-hop festival brings huge acts to San Antonio during Day of the Dead, including Cardi B, Migos and Travis Scott. Headliners for this year’s edition include Diplo, Juice Wrld, Russ and Miguel.

Huarache Turbo Night Run (October 26 at 5 p.m.): This 5K fun run takes place around Día de Muertos each year, with a prize going to the best costume. The fiesta kicks off once the last runner finishes. 

Catrina Ball (Oct. 26): The annual black-tie gala with a Día de Muertos-twist benefits the Library Foundation and will feature sculptures and artworks throughout its host location, the San Antonio Central Library.

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (Nov. 1): This art center, which cultivates, promotes and preserves traditional and contemporary Latino arts and culture, celebrates Day of the Dead with art-making workshops, face painting, a peace and remembrance procession, and a display of altars created by artists, families and organizations.

Muertitos Fest (Nov. 1-2): SAY Sí, a creative youth development organization, curates one of the city’s most comprehensive Día de Muertos celebrations. This year’s theme is Mestizo – a word refering to a person of combined European and Native American descent – and will reflect the convergence of cultures and indigenous roots of the region.

Pearl (Nov. 1-2):  Pearl Park will be transformed for its elaborate Día de Muertos celebration with altars throughout the property, live music, a procession and children’s crafts. Hotel Emma and other Pearl businesses will join in the festivities with ornate altars and original programming.

Centro Cultural Aztlan (Nov. 2-15): This is San Antonio’s longest-standing Día de Muertos celebration – dating back to 1977 – with Centro Cultural Aztlan transforming its gallery into a giant art installation filled with unique altars. View artwork from some of San Antonio’s most talented artists in the “Avenida de los Artesanos” and join in dances specially choreographed for the occasion by the Carnaval de San Anto dance troupe!

Come and experience one of San Antonio’s most vibrant traditions. To learn more, explore visitsanantonio.com/dia-de-los-muertos.

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Additional events, information and media images available at media.visitsanantonio.com