Day of the Dead celebrations return

10/27/2016

Ernesto Sanchez, vice president of the Dance Palace board, began organizing the community center’s longstanding Day of the Dead celebration three years ago. From the start he’s wanted to involve the local Latino community “on a deeper, more soulful, planning level to create an event with an authentic blend of who we are as a community today and to honor the people and land this celebration is based upon,” he said. This year, he says, that dream has materialized. In preparation for this Saturday’s event, Mr. Sanchez, an artist with a studio and gallery in Point Reyes Station, collaborated with Latino community leaders Elvira De Santiago, Claudia Salgado, Socorro Romo and Miguel and Augustina Martinez; a community altar at Toby’s Feed Barn, decorated with photographs of those who have passed, was created by Imelda Marcias. At his studio, Mr. Sanchez hosted a flower-making workshop last Saturday that led to even more community involvement. “One woman, when I found out she sewed, then helped with… [the] Day of the Dead banner being made for the procession and altar at the Dance Palace,” he said. In addition, “there are several major things new this year which would be best stated as major surprises. Things we have never done before which will make this year’s event very memorable.” The celebration starts with face painting at 3 p.m. at Mr. Sanchez’s studio. A procession down Main Street starts at 5 p.m. at Gallery Route One and concludes at the Dance Palace. Following the procession, there will be a performance by the Aztec Dancers; choir music by Coro los Muertos, which sings original and Mexican folk music arranged in four-part harmony; a photo booth equipped with cardboard cutouts and a button maker; and Mexican food and drink for purchase. Masks created by West Marin School students will be on display in the Dance Palace Church Space. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in their “Day of the Dead finery” for the procession, carry pictures of loved ones and bring something they created with a Day of the Dead theme to be displayed in the Church Space for the night. Those who can’t make the event but who want to honor those who have passed and celebrate the living can visit the Bolinas Community Center on Tuesday, Nov. 1, where a Dia de los Angelitos altar honoring children who have died will be erected and open to the public from noon to 10 p.m. The next day, the community center will celebrate Dia de los Muertos, also from noon to 10 p.m. On both days the kitchen will be serving Mexican hot chocolate, pozole and squash soup.