Downtown came alive on Market Street Sunday, November 1, 2015. A diverse group of hundreds of people descended on our first annual Community Street Fiesta in celebration of Dia de Los Muertos. People celebrated by dancing to the music of the band, Latin Soul. The Cesar Chavez High School, and Fremont School Mariachis and choir were enjoyed by all. The folkloric dancers, El Mestizaje from Salida provided traditional Mexican dances including “los viejitos”. Many of the people came dressed for the occasion with long black and traditional Mexican dresses and painted faces.
The Childrens’ activity area was packed with little ones on the jumper, having their faces painted, making masks and marigold flowers, or coloring Dia de los Muertos activity sheets. The Catrina Pageant was a big hit; 13 women of all ages competed for first place. They were each announced and they flaunted their costumes in front of the judges. First place winner was Celina Gonzalez, a student at Sacramento State University. Classic cars filled the parking lot. They all arrived at the same time, in a single line, looking awesome. The lines to purchase tickets for food were long. The food for adults consisted of La Chicana, beans, and rice, which was donated by Maria from Miguels’s restaurant. For the young people, there were hot dogs, nachos, bunuelos, pan de muertos, and horchata. By 5 o’clock the food was all gone! There were 30 vendors who set up their booths on both sides of Market Street. Each booth displayed the unique product or services offered. Of course the Mexican Heritage Center had its own booth, where all kinds of Day of the Dead bracelets, necklaces and t-shirts were sold. Among some of the vendors were the RTD bus, parked across San Joaquin Street, the YMCA, Stockton Heat, California Conservation Corp, Catholic Charities, Community Medical, Farmers Insurance, Hispanic Chamber, In-Shape Health Club, Delta College, Wells Fargo Bank, Downtown Stockton Alliance, an artist booth, and many others.
The gallery was open and gave people the opportunity to enjoy all of the 14 great altares (altars) that were on display. All in all it was a very successful event; comments from people were very positive, and we are looking forward to having a bigger and better Dia de los Muertos street fiesta next year.
Special thanks to our sponsors; without their assistance, our celebration would not have been as successful: Chase Chevrolet, Downtown Stockton Alliance, SJ Delta College, SJ Office of Education, Financial Center Credit Union, Hunter Loan & Jewelry, San Joaquin Real Estate Co., Judith Buethe Communications, and Ken Fong Advertising Inc. and to Home Depot for lending us a generator to operate the jumper.
Thank you to Supervisor Carlos Villapudua for bringing us 10 bushels of hay and helping to set up the canopies. Thank you to all of the student volunteers and organizations who sent members to help us. Thanks to Carlos Marquez who kept the bathrooms and Center swept and mopped. To Louie Gonzales who at the end of the fiesta, picked up all of the garbage.
Artist Saul Serna, Maggie Salas, Cara Davis, Julissa Garcia, Rosalinda Galaviz, Rosie D’Arcy, and Nancy Gomez. What a great job they did in the planning and execution of this years Dia de los Muertos events!