DATE AND TIME: 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015
LOCATION: School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose
TICKETS: $5 for adults; kids 12 and under free.
Advance tickets available at laultimaparada.brownpapertickets.com. More event info is available at laultimaparada.org
Dia De Los Muertos – La Ultima Parada 2015 (Day of the Dead – The Last Stop) Celebration Nov. 1 in San Jose
Live entertainment, food and tributes highlight all-day event at School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza
After a one-year hiatus, San Jose’s long-standing Dia de los Muertos celebration returns in a major way with La Ultima Parada 2015, an all-day spectacular set to take place Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose.
Utilizing the tagline “Celebrating Life on the Day of the Dead,” La Ultima Parada plans to showcase the vibrancy of Mexican culture through a collection of dances and musical performances that will pay tribute to the past, present and future of Mexican arts and culture. Thanks to the generous support of event Padrino, Alcario “Al” Castellano, the celebration will take place at the Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., a contemporary cultural landmark in San Jose that provides the perfect backdrop for honoring the Mexican holiday.
Dia de Los Muertos has been celebrated annually in San Jose thanks to the hard work of local artists Rick Moreno and Maria Luisa Colmenarez. The event started out of Moreno’s home in 1997 and was most recently hosted at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in 2013. This year, Chris Esparza of Giant Creative steps in as event producer; the event is expected to draw an audience of about 1,500 people.
More than 200 masked danzantes will participate in a tribute dance “La Viejada” to honor the dearly departed. Participants will include San Jose folklorico dance companies Los Laureles de San Jose, Grupo Folk Yolotli Guerrerense, Xochitl Cultural de Lincoln HS, Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol de SJSU, Los Lupenos and the newest group in San Jose – Folklorico Heruvi Kalo. There will be musicians performing a wide spectrum of Mexican musical styles, including música jarocha, música huasteca, and sones from Michoacán. Content and marketing partners will include Sonido Clash, UnGramr, FutureArtsNow!, Bobbi Vie and 1nspirationIsFree.
Guests can complement their experience with culturally relevant food and beverages. One of the features will be chicken mole provided by downtown eatery Chacho’s. For those looking for something sweeter, pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread), Mexican hot chocolate, and atole will be available. More than a dozen Dia de los Muertos themed retailers will also be selling a variety of goods.
Keeping with the spirit of honoring those who have passed, there will be a camposanto (graveyard) in the garden to pay tribute to iconic Latino artists and entertainers in recognition of their contributions to Latin culture. The centerpiece of the event will feature an enormous altar in the middle of the plaza and an altar exhibit in the theater lobby.
While the official event takes place on Nov. 1, the Mexican Heritage Plaza will feature carnival rides that lead patrons to the MHP plaza starting Friday, Oct. 30. Rides will be open Saturday, Oct. 31, and all day Sunday, Nov. 1, when La Ultima Parada kicks off in full. In this way, the Day of the Dead event will invite the community to participate in the beautiful cultural legacies of Mexico. Face painting and a costume contest highlight a few of the family-friendly activities available.
The Mexican Heritage Plaza, opened in 1999 at the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and King Road, has been a centerpiece for the revitalization of San Jose’s Mayfair neighborhood. The facility houses the School of Arts and Culture, an entity whose vision is to “create a vibrant place of learning, culture and community that nurtures the soul and brings joy, skill building and a sense of belonging to children, families and all who participate.”