Clark County Parks and Recreation will present the 19th Annual Life in Death Festival: The Day of the Dead in Las at the Winchester Dondero Cultural Center and Park, 3130 S. McLeod Drive, just north of Desert Inn Road. This is the 19th year of honoring the dead and mocking death with the festival’s patron, Elizadeath, in the guise of a Las Vegas showgirl.
Admission is free but be sure to bring money for the traditional food and craft vendors. Parking is limited, so carpooling is highly recommended.
In the Mexican tradition, families and other groups build beautiful ofrendas (altars), glowing with candlelight, that are covered with the food, drink and other objects loved by the deceased while alive in order to lure them back for a visit. The ofrendas are elaborate works of art—beautiful, detailed and sometimes huge. They will be displayed outdoors in Winchester Park. Judges will award prizes of $500 to the creators of the three best ofrendas. Meanwhile, dance, music and humorous poetry remind us that death helps define life, and should not be feared.
Event dates: November 1 & 2, 2019
5 to 9 p.m.
The festival will feature “ofrendas,” or altars built by families and other groups in memory of deceased relatives or other beloved individuals. The ofrendas are elaborate works of art, detailed and sometimes large in size and will be displayed outdoors in Winchester Park. A prize of $500 will be awarded to three winners as selected by our community-based judges.
Performances in the park each day will feature Mexican dance troupes and readings of “calaveras,” or “skulls,” which are satirical poems written to commemorate people who are still alive. The poems treat the menace of death with good-natured humor and offer a chance to poke fun at prominent celebrity and political figures. Judges will award calavera prizes of $100, $125 and $150.
Traditional Mexican folkloric dance performances are also presented by well-known local groups and touring groups onstage.
The Day of the Dead art exhibit will take place in the Winchester Cultural Center gallery from Tuesday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Nov. 11. The “Best of Show” artists will be awarded $100 in the Youth category, $200 in the Amateur category and $300 in the Professional category. All participating artists including the “Best of Show” artists will be recognized on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. during the festival with written certificates of participation.
Authentic Mexican crafts will be offered for sale and a variety of food vendors will be on site, and free samples of special Day of the Dead bread made only once a year will be given out to festival attendees. Demonstrations of traditional embroidery, as well as children's activities and workshops on Day of the Dead bread-making and sugar/clay skull decoration, are offered free of charge.
Those interested in “Life in Death: Day of the Dead” can call Winchester Cultural Center at (702) 455-7340 or CCPublicArt@ClarkCountyNV.gov.