The City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation Department, in collaboration with event organizer Nancy Garcia, is hosting a Día de los Muertos Celebration on Friday, Oct. 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Plaza del Rio in downtown Riverbank. This is the third ‘Day of the Dead’ celebration to be held in Riverbank and each year it has grown. There will be food vendors, live music, and entertainment along with all the traditional festivities including elaborate altars and a Catrin/Catrina contest and parade.
“We could really use some sponsors,” said Garcia. “We could use some help so that we can make this a bigger and better celebration for the City of Riverbank. I could see this getting bigger and becoming something as big as the Cheese and Wine.”
There are altars available for purchase through the city; however, space is limited. The Catrin/Catrina contest is also open for participants. Registration forms and details can be found at riverbank.org. If anyone would like to be a vendor at the event or for more information call the Recreation Department at 209-863-7150. There is no cost to attend the event.
“Last year, it was very uplifting when I saw families getting together and sharing food with people that would stop by,” added Garcia. “Offering pan de Muertos that was individually wrapped to pass out. I want to see it continue. In this community there is definitely a desire to do this.”
The altars can be as detailed as the families would like with items, food, and pictures. The past two events had over 20 altars that were colorful, exceptionally creative, and beautiful.
With all the losses that families have had in the past few years and some that were unable to have funerals, Garcia believes this is a good way for people to honor those loved ones and commemorate them.
Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate the dearly departed and to share that love with family and the community.
Garcia expressed that the importance of the celebration is not only honoring the loved ones that have passed on but sharing the culture that allows parents to explain to their kids what it all means.
The first Día celebration was held in 2019 that was well received with attendance that far exceeded the expectations. Due to the positive community reaction the plans were in motion to host one in 2020 however, COVID did not allow it to happen. In 2021 they held another celebration that was successful in the downtown plaza.