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Day Of The Dead Observance: Relatives, Friends Celebrated
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There were a number of family altars on display in downtown Riverbank on Friday, Nov. 3. They celebrated the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos. The altars honor deceased family members, with photographs, flowers, candles and items that might have had meaning in their lives. The celebration stretched both north and south on Third Street and a little bit east and west on Santa Fe. Craft booths and those selling food also occupied spots around the Plaza del Rio Park, where dancing and music filled the evening air.

News Photos By Ric McGinnis

Riverbank residents celebrated the spirits of their deceased friends and family members on Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, on Friday, Nov. 3, in downtown Riverbank.

The celebration featured a number of activities on Third Street, stretching from Topeka to Stanislaus streets, and a bit of Santa Fe at the intersection. In the middle of it was a large community altar the city prepared for those who didn’t want to make a complete altar of their own.

The traditional altars were featured in one block of the street, in front of City Hall North. They are intended to assist the souls of the deceased in reaching heaven so they can rest in peace.

Decorations on the altars featured photos of the deceased, along with colorful decorations and items that will help remind the spirit that it is dead so it doesn’t remain wandering the earth.

In addition to the altars, a number of booths featured food or beverages, along with crafts, garments and other goods for sale.

On the Centennial Stage in Plaza del Rio Park, entertainment was seen and heard throughout the evening. Music was playing for a time on the city’s downtown sound system, then the Ballet Folklorico troupe performed on the stage.

As darkness fell, festival lights illuminated the several blocks of the celebration, along with colorful pennants and other decorations. The entertainment was scheduled to last until 9 p.m., with a musical group performing after the dancers finished.

Of course, the Folklorico group, being made up of dancers from youngsters to oldsters, brought along family members that crowded the audience area, leading to a standing room only crowd.

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A special booth at this year’s Dia de los Muertos featured members of the Riverbank High School Art Class who were raising money by painting the faces of youngsters in their booth. Many were more artsy than the traditional skull theme other participants were using for the celebration.
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Folklorico dancers arrive at the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration in downtown Riverbank on Friday, Nov. 3. As they arrived, some were able to enjoy the booths and altars up and down Third Street, before getting ready to perform on the Centennial Stage in the Plaza del Rio Park.
The Dia de los Muertos event in downtown Riverbank on Friday, Nov. 3, continued into the evening hours. Festival lights, street lights and ceremonial candles decorated the area, giving its own special feeling to the celebration, honoring friends or family members who have passed away.