[free] 6th Annual Día de Muertos @ Watsonville Plaza

Watsonville Film Festival will host Day of the Dead celebration presenting the movie Coco, as well as music & dance performances and community altars in a free family celebration at the Plaza.

In keeping with tradition, the event will feature altars, music, and dance.

Friday, October 27th.
downtown Watsonville Plaza.

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On Friday, October 27, beginning at 4 p.m., families will be treated to performances by Folklorico Ollin, Raíces Mestizas, Mariachi Ilusión, Estrellas de Esperanza and White Hawk Aztec Dancers.

The popular movie Coco will be screened at dusk. New this year are authentic dances rarely seen on this side of the border or in Mexico as they are only performed during Day of the Dead observances.

Everyone is invited to dress like fancy skeletons to participate in the Catrina and Catrin Catwalk. Coco will screen in Spanish with English subtitles at dusk. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and warm clothes.

Families will have the opportunity to decorate sugar skulls, make luminarias, write letters to their love ones, participate in colorful mosaic making and have their faces painted, thanks to the Watsonville High School Hope Club, Arts Council Santa Cruz County, Pajaro Valley Arts,
Watsonville Brillante and Hospice of Santa Cruz County.

On Tuesday, October 24th the organizers will host Cafecito para el Corazón at the Porter Building, located at 280 Main St.

This is a community conversation in Spanish to express ideas and emotions about the cycle of life and death. Community members are invited to enjoy the discussion, coffee and sweet bread. Facilitated by counselor Daisy Nuñez. By registering in advance people will enter a raffle.

Watch films now!

Families are invited to explore and enjoy an online program featuring a selection of local documentaries and animated films inspired by Day of the Dead, as well as crafts tutorials for children by local artists, and podcasts by Digital NEST members.

The program is readily available at

All online and in-person events are free.

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“Families love coming to the Plaza to watch the beloved movie Coco, and observe this heartfelt and festive holiday that honors loved ones who are no longer with us,” says Consuelo Alba, WFF Executive Director. “This celebration brings the community together in a meaningful way and is a healing experience for many.”

“Día de Muertos is an important cultural tradition that honors and celebrates those who have passed on, and reminds us that death is a natural part of the human experience,” says Dr. Faris Sabbah, County Superintendent of Schools. “We are thrilled to work with the Watsonville Film Festival to continue this long-standing community celebration, and invite community members of all ages to join us in the Watsonville Plaza on October 27.

WFF is partnering with Santa Cruz County Office of Education, Hospice of Santa Cruz County and Watsonville Parks and Community Services to present the free family event at the Plaza, as well as online resources. Arte del Corazón will host a Mercado de Muertos, across the street, at the Romo Lawn where the community can purchase unique pieces made by local artists.

“I believe that art has the unique power to illuminate the human experience and build
connections. Sponsoring the WFF’s Día de Muertos event not only allows us to celebrate the
beauty of life and the depth of our shared stories but also strengthens our connection to serving
our vibrant and diverse Latino community,” says Cathy Conway, CEO of Hospice of Santa Cruz

The heart and soul of the celebration are the altars – set up by families and non-profit
organizations – that honor ancestors and loved ones who have passed on. Pan de muerto
(Bread of the Dead) made by local bakeries, and marigolds harvested in Pájaro Valley fields, will
accompany the photos and mementos on the ofrendas (altars). The public is welcome to bring
their own flowers and offerings to leave on a community altar.

“Watsonville Parks and Community Services is so excited to partner again with the Watsonville
Film Festival to bring this wonderful event to our downtown,” says Nick Calubaquib, Director of
Watsonville Parks and Community Services. “A big thank you to the staff, volunteers and
sponsors that make this possible.”

The 6th Annual Día de Muertos 2023 is presented by the Watsonville Film Festival in
partnership with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Watsonville Parks and
Community Services. The primary sponsor is Hospice of Santa Cruz County, with support from
Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Arts Council Santa Cruz County, California Arts
Council, Packard Foundation, PGE and community partners Pajaro Valley Arts, Arte del
Corazón and Watsonville Farmers’ Market.

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