North Texas Daily

Denton celebrates Day of the Dead

Denton celebrates Day of the Dead

October 24
23:50 2012

Erika Lambreton / Staff Photographer

The dead will rise and scour the streets of Denton in search of brains while sideshow performers recreate death-defying acts during the second annual Day of the Dead Festival.

Halloween is less than a week away and as some begin choosing costumes and buying candy to distribute, David Pierce, the Day of the Dead Festival director, is hard at work adding the final touches to the event held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday in the Industrial District.

Pierce, a UNT alumnus, started a spooky-themed orchestral ensemble called Cirque du Horror about four years ago as a vaudeville-type act.

“Four years ago I came up with this idea to have a family friendly Halloween show that was something that all ages could be at, but it was also funny and spooky,” Pierce said.

Photo by Erika Lambreton

These performances provided inspiration for a Halloween festival that would combine elements of the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, and a fall harvest gathering, Pierce said.

“It was another outlet or something for people to do on Halloween besides just dressing up and going to either a church harvest or going to a bar and winning a costume contest,” he said.

The festival had its inaugural celebration last year inside of Dan’s Silverleaf, with just a few vendors setting up booths along Industrial Street.

“We didn’t know how many people would show up, and the turnout was better than we expected,” Pierce said.

With the success of other local festivals, such as Denton Blues Festival and 35 Denton, a Halloween-themed festival seemed natural to most.

“Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and we haven’t had a community event to celebrate it, until David Pierce stepped up to organize it,” said Katie Trice, coordinator of the Denton Community Market, who is hosting a salsa cooking competition during the festival.

The salsa competition is open to all interested cooks and will offer $10 tasting tickets to the public with unlimited salsa and chip refills.

“To have a community event that is free and just centered around having a good time is great, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Trice said.

With the weather predicted to reach a high of 60 degrees Saturday, large volumes of residents are expected to participate in at least one of the dozens of activities, such as a zombie dash, costume parades, spooky storytelling and coffin races.

“It will be really funny to watch the coffin races,” said Pan Ector Industries co-owner Michael Little.

Pan Ector Industries is one of 26 vendors participating in the event. Pan Ector will print Day of the Dead-themed designs on T-shirts.

“We feel strongly about being involved in community events,” Little said.

The free festival will host stage performances and original acts such as CholoRock, a Mexican-inspired dance group, Mariachi Quetzal and two performances by Cirque du Horror.

The allure of the event is a mixture of great weather, dressing up for Halloween and an appreciation for Día de los Muertos, and people can really connect to that, Pierce said.

For more information about the event, search “Denton Day of the Dead Festival” on Facebook.

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