Public and private partners’ combined efforts will bring an iconic Mexican cultural event to western North Carolina this fall. Día de Los Muertos 2017 will be celebrated November 4th from 1-4p.m. at the City Stage on Main Street in downtown Marion. Admission to this event is free and open to the public. Día de Los Muertos will feature traditional foods such as pan de muerto and tamales, calaveras face painting, crafts, a photo booth, live mariachi performance (sponsored by Beam Funeral Service and McDowell Arts Council), and more. A community ofrenda —or memorial display—allowing anyone to contribute photos or other items in honor of their departed loved ones, will be the centerpiece of the festival. Volunteers will be on hand to assist the public in displaying and retrieving their contributed items.
When local second grade teacher Silvia Martín del Campo approached the McDowell Arts Council to sponsor a Día de Los Muertos festival in Marion it was a perfect opportunity to support multicultural arts in the area, said Council Executive Director Susan Pyatt-Baker. “McDowell Arts Council believes in promoting and providing inclusive art and cultural experiences that celebrate the diversity of our community,” she said. Silvia Martín del Campo lives in Marion and hails from Mexico City, and said she was inspired to organize this festival “to bring a little piece of our country and culture and share this beautiful and colorful celebration.”
She has found overwhelming public and private support for bringing Día de Los Muertos to her adopted hometown, including support from the City of Marion, Marion Business Association, McDowell Arts Council, Beam Funeral Service & Crematory, Centro Unido Latino Americano, the Corpening Memorial YMCA, Burrito Bros Restaurant, The Crooked Door Coffee House, and Refinery 13 Taproom. Daniel Rodriguez, co-owner of Burrito Bros Restaurant in downtown Marion, is a festival sponsor and says, “My brother and I are happy to help with this event simply because of it bringing the community together.”
Chad Beam, owner of Beam Funeral Service & Crematory in Marion, is a major festival sponsor and explains that it is his intention “to support all ethnic groups in their faith and traditions when it comes to honoring their deceased loved ones. The more we participate and understand these traditions the better we can serve the families in their time of grief. It is our privilege to be a part of this special event.”
Mrs. del Campo explains, “Día de Los Muertos is translated literally as “day of the dead,” but it is really a time to celebrate life by remembering and honoring those we have lost. In Western North Carolina a similar cultural tradition exists in ‘Decoration Day.’ Día de Los Muertos 2017 in Marion will be a unique cultural festival in the region, and an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those we love and miss while sharing in the traditions of our diverse community.”
Día de Los Muertos 2017 will be on Main Street in downtown Marion at City Stage, between Court Street and Fort Street from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday November 4, 2017. Main Street between Court & Fort streets will be closed to vehicles during the event. Free admission & activities. Food & drinks available to purchase. Live mariachi band performance on Main Street. For the community ofrenda/memorial display: bring a photo of departed loved ones, a letter or card, or any small item of significance and add it to the community memorial. Volunteers will assist in displaying and retrieving all items safely whenever you wish.