Fort Lauderdale’s annual, “Dia de los Muertos - Mexican Day of the Dead celebration,”, has grown in its twelve-year history. The event, founded by Jim Hammond of the Puppet Network, now draws thousands of attendees and has been noted by the Travel Channel and other media as one of America's Best Day of the Dead Celebrations.
Hammond, who has worked as the manager for the puppets in the touring production of “The Lion King,” features giant puppets; some of which take up to eight people to handle in the traditional festival parade.
The Homestead-Miami Mariachi Conservatory of the Mexican-American Council (MAC) has been appearing as part of the program for almost ten years. Not surprisingly, Eddie Garza, MAC Chief Executive Officer, has paid close attention to the consistently increasing popularity and saw no reason for the local community to miss out. “We thought there was an appetite for this here. We’ve put a great team together,” he said in preparing to take the
Mariachi members to Fort Lauderdale for the November 2d festivities.
So, with months of planning, on Saturday, November 6, the first ever Miami-Dade Day of the Dead Celebration will be filled with giant and smaller puppets, lively music, talented dancers, people in costume, and much more. What better place than the Miami Brewing Company (30205 SW 217th Ave, Homestead) for two stages and the displays to be set up?
Doors open at 4:00 p.m. with continuing performances beginning at 5:30 p.m., until the 10:25 p.m. Grand Finale.
The crowd-pleasing sounds of the Homestead Mariachis will be one of multiple performers such as Los Mora Arriaga, Tloke Nahuake, Marimba
Cihuatan, 3RG, and Ballet Folklorico Azteca. Artists, vendors, face-painting, food, and plenty of beverages will add to the excitement.
For anyone new to the concept, the National Today website https://nationaltoday.com/day-of-the-dead provides some background. “The ancient indigenous people of Mexico have practiced rituals celebrating the lives of past ancestors for around 3,000 years.
The celebration that is now known as Day of the Dead originally landed on the ninth month of the Aztec calendar and was observed for the entire month. In the 20th century, the month long festivities were condensed to 3 days called The Days of the Dead: Halloween on October 31, Day of the Innocents on November 1, and Day of the Dead on November 2. La Catrina is one of the most recognizable figures of Day of the Dead, a towering female skeleton with vibrant make up and a flamboyant feathery hat. The Lady of Death
worshipped by the Aztecs protected their departed loved ones, guiding them through their final stages of the life and death cycles.”
There will in fact be the Offrenda where photographs and tributes are paid. There will be a special tribute to individuals lost to COVID and frontline workers. “This is how we remember and honor those no longer with us,” Garza explained of the tradition.
There is no cost to the festival although registration is required. Go to https://miamibrewing.com/miami-dade-day-of-the-dead. You can also follow
MAC on Facebook.