7 spirited events to celebrate Day of the Dead

Ddlm Collage
Photos by Andres Alvarez
As many as 6,000 guests are expected at the 5th annual Panteón de Sacramento, one of the region's preeminent events celebrating Dia de los Muertos.

Some of Sacramento’s liveliest holiday celebrations of the year are almost here with Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. Thousands of local families will build altars in memory of those they have lost, while the community as a whole takes part in everything the deceased once enjoyed in life—great food, music and dance. This year, the region offers these opportunities to get into the spirit:

Souls of the City: Día de los Muertos in Old Sacramento

Nov. 1 To conclude a month of cultural events and workshops, the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation and Sol Collective invite you to their grand Día de los Muertos fiesta. Costumed Aztec dancers, Kalpulli Maquilli Tonatiuh, will lead a colorful procession through Old Sacramento to the lighting of the main altar. Guests are then encouraged to celebrate the spirit of the dead with interactive community altars, pop-up art, games, calaveras face painting and traditional live music. Free. 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Sacramento History Museum. 101 I St. 808-7059. historicoldsac.org

Velo Ball 2014 

Nov. 1 Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) is adopting the Día De Los Muertos theme for its annual fundraiser, the popular Velo Ball. Downtown gathering spot Beatnik Studios will groove to the sounds of DJ Larry Rodriguez while guests enjoy Mexican food from the Florez Bar and Grill, paired with local craft beer and cider from Bike Dog Brewing Company and Two Rivers Cider. A silent auction will offer a wide array of items, including a 4-night stay in Mendocino, Disneyland passes, pieces donated by local artists and the “Smokin’ Groven, ”a wood-fired smoker-grill oven made famous at Granite Bay’s Farmhaus restaurant. $50 (advanced purchase only). 6-9:30 p.m. 723 S St. 444-6600. sacbike.org

Calaveras Decoration

Nov. 1-2 Often seen as the symbol of Día de los Muertos, vibrantly colored Mexican sugar skulls, or calaveras de azúcar, aren’t for eating, but rather for representing the souls of loved ones. Glitter, icing, ribbons and sequins are all used to help the calaveras to brighten up gravestones and altars throughout the holiday. This year, kids and families can learn more about the holiday before making their own decorative sugar skulls at the Sacramento Children’s Museum in Rancho Cordova. $7. Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m; Sun. 12 – 5 p.m. 2701 Prospect Park Dr. Rancho Cordova. 638-7225. sackids.org

5th Annual Panteón de Sacramento

Nov. 1-2 For two days, La Raza Galeria Posada will recreate the enchanting cemetery ambiance of Oaxaca, Mexico for this immersive Día de los Muertos experience. The grand lighting of the altars on Saturday will allow an opportunity for an expected 6,000 guests to leave offerings of flowers, candles and keepsakes before the celebration kicks off again on Sunday with La Danza de la Viejada, a processional dance from the state of Veracruz, and the competitive La Catrina Y Catrin Look-Alike Contest. Panteón attendees will also enjoy live mariachi performances, banda music from Michoacán, costumes, food and themed vendors throughout the weekend. Free. Sat. 11 a.m.-1 a.m; Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. 2020 J St. 446-5133. lrgp.org

Davis’ Day of the Dead Celebration

Nov. 2. The Davis Cemetery will open its gates for a day of poetry reading, music and dance in appreciation of Mexican culture. In addition to live performances by Maricahi Tonantzin and indigenous dance group, Kalpulli Tiayolot, the Davis Cemetery District and the Ethnic Studies Faculty at Woodland Community College invite guests to take part in the ceremony by leaving personal offerings at the cemetery’s own Día de los Muertos altar. Free. 11:30-3 p.m. 820 Pole Line Rd. Davis. 530-756-7807. daviscemetery.org

Día de los Muertos at Tequila Museo Mayahuel

​Nov. 2 Midtown’s Mayahuel restaurant has teamed up with seasoned local fashion designer Rory Castillo for both a stylish celebration of Mexican culture and a unique perspective on the history of the holiday. Castillo, a Las Vegas Fashion Week veteran, has put together a collection of looks inspired by the many colorful traditions of Día de los Muertos. One ticket earns attendees a great view and a themed cocktail to go with it. $10. 5-10 p.m. 1200 K St. 441-7200. tequilamuseo.com

Día de los Muertos: Two Cities

Through Nov. 15 Through this exhibition, La Raza Galeria Posada invites you to discover the ways in which Mexican culture has influenced Sacramento’s celebration of Día de los Muertos. Two Cities features work from local photographers Andres Alvarez and Ruben Briseno Reveles and compares nearly 40 images from Oaxaca, Mexico—home to the largest Día de Los Muertos celebration—and La Raza Galeria Posada’s own El Panteón de Sacramento event in Midtown. Check out photographs of processions and revelers as well as the gallery’s own altar display. Free. Tue.-Sat. 11-5 p.m. 2700 Front St. 446-5133. lrgp.org

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