It's safe to say that with exponential growth over the past few years, huge community involvement, and enthusiastic attendance, Fort Lauderdale has fully embraced Florida's Day of the Dead as a new but already beloved tradition. This year's celebration, the fifth annual, is shaping up to be quite the party in remembrance of dead ancestors. This year, the expected turnout is of around 9,000 souls, and with two days filled with activities, the revelry might get a little overwhelming.
Starting Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Revolution Live Entertainment Complex (RLEC), the 21-and-up crowd can enjoy the newest addition to the celebration, the inaugural Tequila Fest, as well as live music throughout the complex's venues. Then on Sunday beginning at noon (so the agave spirits have calmed considerably), Family Day kicks off from the Museum of Art's lobby, where there will be exhibits and crafts, followed at 3 p.m. by a Skeleton Processional in Huizenga Park that will snake its way through downtown, ending up at RLEC. There will be mariachis, giant puppets, and floats at the park that will be joined by Aztec dancers, little Frida Kahlos, circus performers, skeleton pirates, and stilt walkers.
While it might all seem like fun and games, for those interested in the celebration but who know nothing of Día de los Muertos, there will be areas of historic and cultural significance like the modern interpretations of traditional ofrendas (offerings), usually ornate and artistic altars, at the New River Inn as well as the beautiful skull art and imagery that accompany the costumed revelers.
Sunday's event is free and will run from noon until 7 p.m. and will be in downtown Fort Lauderdale between RLEC, the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, the Museum of Art, and Riverwalk, for the most part. For a full listing of activities and maps of attractions and events, visit dayofthedeadflorida.com.
Sun., Nov. 2, 12-7 p.m., 2014