On October 27, Strathearn Historical Park held their 5th Annual “Dia de los Muertos” festival. There was plenty to do at the event like face painting, food truck vendors and other small little vendors, different cultural dances, and most importantly altars.
The face painters offered different styles of face painting, like whole face painting, half face painting, and simple little drawings. Many families walked around the whole park with authentic face painting styles and colors. Elizabeth Foster said, “Full face painting really ties together the meaning of Dia de los Muertos,” when asked why she chose to paint her full face. The face painting areas were located at the entrance of the park and near the Strathearn windmill.
Aside from the face painting, there was also food trucks and little vendors selling different items like sugar skulls, wooden Aztec Indians, and traditional folkloric wear. Many of the vendors had been working the event for all five years. The different food vendors offered traditional Mexican cuisine like flan, churros, and tacos. Also traditional Mexican drinks like horchata. The owner of Copper Cat Apothecary, Jenni Gonzalez, said that she keeps working the event “because of the tremendous enthusiasm” of everyone attending.
There were also many traditional dances performed by professional dancers. The first dance performed was the Indigenous Aztec Dance by Danza Mexica de Ventura. Next was the Ballet Folklorico Fiesta Mexicana for another 20 minutes. The Mariachi of Camarillo performed traditional Mexican mariachi songs like “Cielito Lindo” and “El Son de la Negra” while members of the audience sang along with them. Many other dances were performed over the span of the event.
Lastly were the altars created by local families and organizations in Simi Valley. Many of the altars varied in size and on the different things offered to the altar. The colors were very vibrant oranges, reds, purples, and greens. All the altars had pictures of past family members and some even included past pets. There was a discretion advised when entering the barn full of altars which was to not touch and to respect the altars of the different families. There was at least one family member at each altar willing to give information of their display.
Overall, the whole event was very culturally informative and displayed the true essence of the meaning of Dia de los Muertos. Many people showed up to the event, paid their respect to the different alters, and showed interest in all the events occurring within the festival.