community altar

A community altar is presented for visitors to honor their deceased loved ones at the Dia de Los Muertos festival in Old Town Elk Grove on Oct. 30.

Hundreds came out to Old Town Elk Grove to celebrate the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Spanish for “Day of the Dead”) on the final weekend of October.

This event took place on Oct. 30-31 at the Old Town Plaza with artwork on display, ranging from mural paintings on wooden boards to altars put together by some of the vendors celebrating the memories of loved ones and friends.

The festival was sponsored by ARTners, a nonprofit art collaborative that “promotes local artists all over Sacramento and the Elk Grove area,” said Teresa Gutierrez, a president of ARTners.

She noted that the organization invites local artists to come and paint murals and showcase them.

“I would just like to say that we offer creative services,” Gutierrez said. “We also have a scholarship program that we encourage students all over the Sacramento metropolitan area to sign up for.”

Ariana Tsukamoto of Rancho Cordova, along with her daughter Alyssa Garcia, and her daughter’s boyfriend, Andy Xu, had artwork on display of spirit animals. She said that many of the spirit animals were comprised of patterns representing different animals. One example was a cat having a tiger pattern, along with a pattern representing Halloween.

As a celebration for Dia de los Muertos, some people had altars on display to commemorate late friends and family. Carmella Lopez of Elk Grove spoke about her familial history, ranging from her father to relatives in San Francisco and Miami, as well as her Cuban heritage. Bree Garcia of Elk Grove had an altar set up and recalled her upbringing in Southern California.

One booth had a memorial set up for El Soldado Latino, a nonprofit that commemorates veterans of Latinos who served in World War II. Lupe Trevizo-Hernandez commemorated her late father, Leonardo S. Trevizo, who had served in World War II in the South Pacific and how he was a part of the cavalry.

Many vendors had set up shop for many of their arts and crafts, ranging from My Sticky Shop to Petroglyphics. Chuck Kritzon, the owner of Petroglyphics had some artwork carved on stones and they represented different cultures. Although he had artwork representing Meso-Americans for the event, he had some artwork representing different cultures as well, such as Southwest cultures, and Asian designs. Kritzon said that most of the artwork is done if “there is a story behind it.”

“Today, we’re celebrating Dia de los Muertos and that’s the culture we really want to highlight and celebrate,” Kritzon said. “We have so much other stuff that we want to share with people, because all of the ancient cultures have stories to tell.”