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McClung Museum to host free Día de los Muertos festival

The festival is on Saturday, Nov. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at the McClung Museum.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture said it is hosting a free community festival to celebrate the Mexican tradition Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, on Saturday, Nov. 5 from noon to 4 p.m.

Día de los Muertos, which is celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2, is a holiday that honors loved ones who have passed. 

The festival will feature cultural dances, music, sample foods, guided craft projects and artisan demonstrations, according to a release. Individuals and families with children of all ages are invited to the McClung Museum to participate in hands-on activities like candle making, decorating calaveras (skulls), creating marigold crowns, face painting stations and more.

"With this festival, the museum and its community partners aim to highlight the richness of the many communal experiences associated with the Day of the Dead,” Curator of Education Leslie Chang-Jantz said. “This event will celebrate the joy of families and neighbors coming together to honor loved ones through shared traditions.”

The museum said the event will feature sample foods from local restaurants Zalate Taqueria and La Flor Bakery, and performances by local dance groups Herencia de mi Tierra (My Homeland’s Heritage) and Grupo de arte y cultura San Miguel de la Iglesia de Todos los Santos (San Miguel Art and Culture group of All Saints Church). Students from Beaumont Magnet Academy will perform songs directed by music teacher Mr. José Ramos.

Ericka Mejia, who placed second in the 2022 Dogwood Arts Festival Chalk Walk, will create chalk art outside of the museum inspired by The Spirit of Día de los Muertos exhibition during the festival, according to the release. Guests will also have an opportunity to learn about the art and installations on display in the exhibition from local artists Martha Baltazar, Laura Contreras, Susan Esrequis, and Héctor Saldivar.

The festival is free to attend, but registrations are required.

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