WALLA WALLA – Shakespeare Walla Walla, ArtWalla, Carnegie Picture Lab and Whitman College have joined forces to create the First Annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead Festival), a free event open to the public taking place in and around the Gesa Power House Theatre Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26.
In the grand tradition of the colorful and vibrant Mexican holiday, this community event celebrates Hispanic culture with live music and dance, face-painting and kids’ crafts, food vendors, art and history, and even a nod to Shakespeare.
The big event of the festival involves heavy machinery and artwork. The Dia De Los Muertos Steamroller Print Project brings artists, students and the community together for a collaborative art event. Giant relief prints will be created using a steamroller as a printing press.
The resulting prints will be displayed at the event and available for exhibition and/or sale.
This event will take place during the day on Saturday on Sixth Avenue in front of the Gesa Power House Theatre. A community activity table will be set up for adults and supervised children to carve their own mini-relief blocks, which can be printed on t-shirts using the steamroller.
Shakespeare Walla Walla will present several live performances throughout the weekend.
The festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 25, with a family concert on the Power House stage featuring traditional mariachis and dancers.
The festival will close with an adults-only finale concert on Saturday, Oct. 26, and will feature more contemporary Latino musical offerings. Tickets for the finale concert are priced between $15 and $25.
In between, there will be dance and music performances inside and outside of the theater, as well as a Pageant of the Dead featuring the famous death scenes from some of William Shakespeare’s most iconic works, performed in traditional Dia de los Muertos costume and make-up, produced by and featuring area youth.
Local businesses have been invited to create traditional Dia de los Muertos altars that will be displayed in and around the theater during the festival. Festival guests can vote for their favorite altars, with the winning altars to be announced at the finale concert.
For full program details and to purchase tickets to the finale concert, visit www.shakespearewallawalla.org or call 509-529-6500.