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Dia De Los Muertos Events in North County San Diego (2017)

Dia De Los Muertos San Diego North County

Día De Los Muertos, also known as “Day of the Dead” is a celebration with roots deep in Mexican heritage where participants joyously remember a loved one who has died. Traditions surrounding this annual Mexican celebration include erecting personal altars (or “ofrendas”) in remembrance of the dead, marigolds, catrinas, sugar skulls, and much more. While it is often mistaken as a tandem holiday to Halloween, it is a completely separate holiday. The traditional full celebration happens over three days. If you are looking to celebrate this vibrant and culturally significant holiday, there are several events happening in and around North County. Here’s your guide to this year’s Dia De Los Muertos Events in North County San Diego.

Dia De Los Muertos Events north county san diego coastal

(Del Mar to Oceanside)

1. Día De Los Muertos Festival at Mission San Luis Rey

The Mission San Luis Rey will hold its 17th Annual Día De Los Muertos Festival which includes live entertainment, traditional dancing, a chalk cemetery, arts and crafts for kids, catrinas, delicious authentic Mexican food, the Por Siempre Car Club (with trunk altars) and much more. Mission San Luis Rey is a historic California Mission with expansive beautiful grounds. The Mission San Luis Rey Day of The Dead festival takes place on Sunday, October 29th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is free. Parking is $5-$10 per vehicle.

2. Art After Dark: Day of The Dead Art Exhibit and Festival

Celebrate loved ones who are no longer with us while experiencing some of the areas most gifted artists. A blend of interactive exhibits and experiences include a video light show by Joe Wheaton, speed painting by Amy Burkman, Ballet Folklorico San Dieguito, Ballet Folklorico El Tapatio and so much more. Of course, beer wine, soft drink, and delicious bites are on the menu. Tacos by Tacos El Rorro. Art After Dark is on October 28th from 7:00 – 10:00 pm. This event is 21 and over. ID is required for entry. Tickets are $20 online pre-sale and $10 for OMA members. At the door, tickets jump a whopping $20 more, so be sure to get your tickets before October 27th.

3. Día De Los Muertos Sugar Skull Craft for Kids

Learn about the traditions of the Día De Los Muertos celebration while learning to make Mexican sugar skulls. This Dia De Los Muertos craft time event for kids (ages 5-12) is on Tuesday, October 17th from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. This is a free community event, however, sign-ups are required.

4. Dia De Los Muertos in Encinitas

Celebrate the Day of the Dead in Encinitas at the annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival in Encinitas. This event is free to the public and presented by the Encinitas Friends of the Arts. Come experience art-making workshops, art exhibits, Ballet Folklorico, artist demonstrations, food vendors, mariachi, and much more. This free event is on October 28th from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The Encinitas Library invites you to contribute to the community ofrendas as well as create a family altars. These ofrendas will be on display at the Encinitas Library from October 28th – November 2nd.

5. Dia De Los Muertos at La Colonia in Solana Beach

The City of Solana Beach celebrates Dia De Los Muertos at the La Colonia De Eden Gardens. The Solana Beach Day of the Dead festival is in its 3rd year. This culturally significant community event features live music, ofrendas (altars), catrin/a contest, dancing, delicious food and more. The Solana Beach Dia De Los Muertos Celebration is on Sunday, October 29th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at La Colonia Park.

north county inland

(Rancho Bernardo to Escondido)

6. Day of The Dead Festival at The California Center For The Arts

Participants in the 22nd annual Dia De Los Muertos event at the California Center For The Arts are welcome to create their own memorial on campus in remembrance of loved ones. This is a wonderful community event. Enjoy live music, entertainment, crafts and traditional Mexican food at this campus-wide Dia De Los Muertos event in Escondido. The event is on Wednesday, November 1st from 6:00pm-9:00 pm. Admission is Free. For more info visit www.artcenter.org

7. Día De Los Muertos at Rancho Guajome Adobe

Día De Los Muertos at one of California’s historic and oldest ranchos is always a festive and meaningful experience. Patrons who attend the Rancho Guajome Adobe Día De Los Muertos event will enjoy food, traditional folklorico dancing, ofrendas, live music, kids activities and a self-guided rancho house tour. This community event is presented by the Rancho Guajome Adobe County Park and Ballet Folklorico Tierra Caliente. The Rancho Guajome Dia De Los Muertos event takes place on October 29th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adults 13 and up are $4 each, Children ages 4-12 are $2. Children 0-2 are free.

8. CSUSM Presentation on Dia De Los Muertos

Learn the history and cultural significance of Dia De Los Muertos at this presentation by Grace Alvarez Sesma at Cal State San Marcos. Alvarez is a cultural educator. Maestra Grace, as she is known, will present on the meanings of different ofrendas, the roots of the holiday, and the modern ways of remembering infants, children, and adults. Of special note is how we as a community can approach the day with reverence, respect and a fresh understanding of our Mexican and chicano friends, neighbors, and family as they celebrate. The presentation is on October 18th at 6:00 pm in the evening. Tickets are $10 for the community and $5 for faculty/staff/alumni. Parking is available for a fee.

Your Turn…

Now it’s your turn! Do you know of any missing Dia De Los Muertos events that should be included in this guide? Contact us here or comment below.

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Michelle Sybert: Michelle also writes at her blog Be Brave, Keep Going and lives in the North San Diego area with her husband and two children. When she's not writing, Michelle loves to go hiking, discover new breakfast spots, and photography. Follow Michelle on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram