Celebrate lost loved ones with a community wide Día de los Muertos

Cassandra Ballard
Special to The Aspen Times
Carbondale's Day of Dead celebration 2021.
Courtesy photo

Remembrance for Día de los Muertos already began, but the largest celebration in the valley will be in Carbondale today.

“It’s a memorial, thinking about the people who passed away, and people come to visit us again to be with us, especially that day,” said Francisco “Paco” Nevarez-Burgueno, director for the Ballet Folklórico at the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company.

In Carbondale, the community ofrenda was created on Tuesday in front of the Launchpad, but the procession and the main festivities will be on First Friday. Those who attend are invited to bring photos and mementos of loved ones who have passed for communal remembrance and honoring.

“That’s the beauty of this celebration; everybody gets together — everybody,” Nevarez-Burgueno said.

Festivities will be extra special this year, recognizing “Paco” for 20 years of teaching with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folkórico and contributing greatly for the work he’s done for the Dia de los Muertos celebration over the years.

“I think it is going to be a very, very huge, huge celebration,” he said.

His contributions have elevated the celebration and highlighted the need and desire for diversity and inclusion, according to a news release from Carbondale Arts.

Come hungry, and don’t be too worried if you are not sure how to paint your face for the event because there will be face painting and food trucks, along with Mexican hot chocolate, pan de muertos, and more. Face painting will end by 6 p.m., though.

Performances by Sopris Soarers, a Lotería with Valley Settlement and mariachi are also planned.

The Día de Los Muertos procession is slated to go through downtown Carbondale, beginning at Third Street Center at 6 p.m. and ending at Fourth and Main Street, featuring large-scale catrina puppets and Ballet Folklórico.

“Bridges High School students created two new big puppets,” event organizer Amy Kimberly said. “So, this year, we’ll have three big puppets, including the catrina.”

After the procession there will be performances by Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra, Ballet Folklórico, and Mezcla Social Dance.

“Yeah, with having Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico, it took it to a much more authentic level,” Kimberly said.

A catrina costume contest rounds out the evening, with a $100 prize for the best-dressed adult and $50 for the best youth catrina/catrine.

“I would like to invite everybody to come and celebrate and think about the family members or friends or whoever to come and remember them on that day in Carbondale with us,” Nevarez-Burgueno said.

Remember to dress up and dress warm, but, if the weather is too cold, the festivities might move inside, Kimberly said of the impending wet weather that’s forecast to continue into the day.

If you go…

What: Día de los Muertos Celebration

When: 4 p.m. today

Where: Fourth Street Plaza in Carbondale

How much: Free


Glenwood ofrenda workshop Saturday

Glenwood Springs will also be celebrating Día de los Muertos with an Ofrenda Building Workshop at the Community Center on Saturday.

“It’s for all community members to come to the center and build an ofrenda or an altar for someone,” said Annie Henninger, the art supervisor at the Glenwood Springs Community Art Center.

The event will provide supplies for the ofrenda or the altar, which will include cardboard boxes, black cloth, marigolds, sugar skulls and other art supplies. Bring pictures and other reminders, or additional items of loved ones, along with traditional components.

Feel free to get a little extra festive and dress up in traditional costumes, but remember to keep it related to the event, Henninger said.

There will also be a free screening of Coco at 1 p.m. and community members can view the altars from 3 to 5 p.m.

“I’m deeply committed to providing the community with opportunities for learning through art and culture,” Henninger said.

If you go…

What: Día De los Muertos in Glenwood Springs

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday (workshop is noon to 3 p.m., with viewing afterward)

Where: Glenwood Springs Community Art Center 601 E. Sixth St.

How much: free and $10 for table space

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