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Playhouse Village Hosts Expanded Día de Los Muertos Celebration Today

For the first time ever, businesses in Playhouse Village will display ofrendas – homemade altars to commemorate the departed – in their store windows
Published on Oct 22, 2021

Playhouse Village’s annual Día de los Muertos Festival on Sunday finds a new home at Arcade Lane, 696 E. Colorado Blvd.

For the event, Arcade Lane will transform into a zócalo (public plaza) where visitors will see live dance performances, live music, and poetry readings from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday. All events are family-friendly outdoor programs that include arts and crafts for all ages, calaca face painting, games, altar exhibits, an artisan market, and even chalk artists from the Pasadena Chalk Festival bringing murals to life.

“Arcade Lane, home to businesses such as El Portal, Yahaira’s, and others, plays host to much of the activity through the use of the adjoining parking lot, where there is ample space for entertainment, face painting, craft vendors and much more,” said Brian Wallace, executive director of Playhouse Village. “This year’s event co-organizer, Mercadito Monarca, honors the legacy of Día de los Muertos while introducing arts, crafts and fashions to new audiences in Playhouse Village.”

A live mariachi band is also performing, plus local poets from Flor y Canto, will be presenting their original work of poetry and spoken word. A deejay set by La Junta Los Angeles will be on site to keep the vibes going.

“The stage at the Día de los Muertos Celebration features traditional dance and music groups,”  Jessica Calderon, marketing and membership manager of Playhouse Village, said. “The local Danza Azteca Yankuititl will commence the celebration with a procession through the event area and altar display, before showcasing Aztec dances and traditional costumes. The ballet folklorico group Danza Artes de México and the youth group Mariachi Herencia Michoacana will take us through a journey across Mexico with a mix of each state’s own traditional repertoire of music and dance.”

The celebration this year marks a significant expansion with new vendors, partners and locations to include Boston Court, 70 N. Mentor Ave., where Manny Giella and his band and youth slam poets from “Get Lit” offer live performances.

For the first time ever, businesses in Playhouse Village will display ofrendas – homemade altars to commemorate the departed – in their store windows from Sunday to Nov. 3.

Boston Court will also display an ofrenda created by local artists and dedicated to loved ones lost in the pandemic. It’s going to be a community altar, so if there’s a loved one you wish to honor, contact Playhouse Village immeDíately, or fill out the submission form here.

If you would prefer to drop off a photo and tribute in person, email

“Built by local organizations such as Latino Heritage Association and Adelante Youth Alliance, local artists such as Denise Esparza and Liz Espinoza, and business owners themselves, this collection of altars will honor friends, families, community members, and even pets and extinct animal species,” Calderon added. “These altars will be on display for 10 days through November 3rd, giving the community the opportunity to stroll through Playhouse Village and experience this tradition.”

The Artisan Market at Día delos Muertos will feature many local BIPOC (black, indigenous and other people of color) businesses participating at this year’s event, the organizers said.

Wallace recalls that Día de los Muertos was first celebrated in Playhouse Village nearly 25 years ago with an event created by the owner of Zona Rosa Cafe, at the time located on South El Molino Avenue.

“Over the years the celebration grew to involve nearby merchants and Pasadena Playhouse and this year finds a new, larger home at Arcade Lane,” he said. “We hope that everyone will find enjoyment and meaning out of this year’s festival while celebrating in a safe, family-friendly outdoor atmosphere.”

For more information about Día De Los Muertos at Playhouse Village, visit

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