Fire barrels, live music, giant puppets, public altars and costumes will take over Yankie Street in downtown Silver City on Friday night, as AmBank First Fridays Downtown celebrates Dia de los Muertos.
The free event, produced monthly by the Silver City MainStreet Project, focuses on a different theme each month. November's First Friday falls on the actual Day of the Dead, so the theme was set.
Central to every AmBank First Friday event is the street dance, this month featuring local favorites the Illusion Band, playing a mix of rock and roll in English and Spanish from 6 to 9 p.m. on Yankie street between Bullard and Texas streets.
"Many Dia de los Muertos traditions involve celebrating in costume, and we expect that many of our younger citizens will be excited to revive their Halloween costume for one more night of fun, so we've planned a costume contest for both kids and adults," said Silver City MainStreet Manager Nick Seibel. "Every child that shows up in costume will receive a prize from one of downtown's most delicious destinations, and adults who dress up will have an opportunity to win one of several MainStreet gift certificates during band breaks."
Event organizers have also made accommodations for cooler fall evenings by unveiling "art barrels," designed and fabricated by downtown artist Janey Katz from barrels donated by Porter Transportation. Each barrel will contain a bonfire to provide warmth and atmosphere, and several will be dispersed around the dance.
The Silver City Museum, will be open for extended hours to host a children's Dia de los Muertos craft class, scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. Each child who comes into the museum Friday will receive a free "special treat" from museum staff, providing a possible stop before the First Friday celebration.
Another staple of Dia de los Muertos celebrations will be observed Friday evening as well -- the reading of "calaveras," short and often lighthearted poems of remembrance. Javalina Coffee House at the corner of Bullard and Broadway will play host to this part of the tradition, with a Remembrance Open Mic beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Sam Castello, organizer of the Javalina event, hopes to elicit "poetry and song that honors and celebrates those who have taken that next step of the journey."
"We'll allow up to 5 minutes -- basically one poem or two short ones," Castello said, "If everyone has a chance to read, we'll allow you to read again."
And of course, no Day of the Dead celebration would be complete without an altar, so Yankie street gallery owners have built a public altar in front of the Raven's Nest on Yankie, and invite AmBank First Friday participants to bring items, or "ofrendas," to place on the altar in remembrance of loved ones.
The public altar will remain in place throughout the weekend, as the celebration continues Saturday with a community potluck for the dedication of the Prayer Flag project, featuring scores of prayer flags made by members of the community and hung above Yankie street. The potluck and dedication are scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at the same location as Friday night's dance on Yankie St. Participants should bring a side dish to share, with the main course available for purchase from Vicki's Eatery.
For more information, call (575) 534-1700 or Nick Seibel at (575) 313-9831 or visit www.SilverCityMainStreet.com.
Dia de los Muertos and All Souls Day events:
*Dias de los Muertos Ofrenda created by Carlos Guiterrez 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Bear Mountain Lodge and Blue Dome Gallery, 60 Bear Mountain Ranch Road. This year's ofrenda is dedicated to Aaron Cowan, son of Tip and Mary Cowan, who was killed in February 2005 when the Apache helicopter he was piloting crashed in Korea. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call (575) 538-2538.
*Dia de Los Muertos Children's Craft Class, 5 to 6 p.m. Friday, Silver City Museum, 312 W. Broadway.
*Dias de los Muertos Ofrenda created by Carlos Guiterrez 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Bear Mountain Lodge and Blue Dome Gallery, 60 Bear Mountain Ranch Road. This year's ofrenda is dedicated to Aaron Cowan, son of Tip and Mary Cowan, who was killed in February 2005 when the Apache helicopter he was piloting crashed in Korea. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call (575) 538-2538.
*AmBank First Fridays: "Dia de Los Muertos," 6 to 9 p.m. The street dance (with fire barrels!) will be on Yankie Street, first block west of Bullard Street, with the Illusion Band. All children in costume will receive a prize and an adult costume contest will be held. Public altars.
*Remembrance Open Mic, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Javalina's Coffee House. Bring poetry and songs that honors and celebrate those who have taken that next step of the journey. Each person will have up to five minutes to read one poem or two short ones. Sign up for the open mic at the event, or in advance by contacting Sam Castello at email@example.com
*Fourth annual All Souls Trail Race, 9 a.m. Saturday, starts at Bullard and Yankie. 3.1 and 7-mile trail races on San Vicente Trail and Boston Hill. Craggy trails, steep climbs, water crossings, prizes and glory. $10 entry fee. All proceeds to benefit the food pantry. For more information, call (575) 574-2902.
*Gila Regional Medical Center Chaplain Tyler Connoley will lead a brief ceremony at noon Saturday, on Yankie Street, in front of the hanging prayer flags.
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