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Dia de los Muertos to feature plant-based community altar

This Sunday’s 10th annual Downey Dia de Los Muertos Art Festival’s “Community Altar” will be designed and decorated by Latinx With Plants, a woman of color owned and operated plant shop in Boyle Heights.

The innovative, earth and eco-friendly ofrenda will feature tropical plants native to Latin America, as well as cacti, and symbolic and healing plants such as sage, lavender, and chamomile, as well as Mexican incense like copal.

Having worked on the altar for over a month, Andi Xoch, Latinx with Plants founder, creative director and driving force, said that the end effect will be “theatrical, and artistic. Traditional, in an unconventional way.”

She’ll be executing the altar with the Latinx with Plants Art Dept, as well as volunteers from the community.

Xoch has titled the altar “Las calaveras todas blancas son,” a sentiment taken from the hit song of the same name by Colombian salsa group the Latin Brothers, a rousing lighthearted rendition that shares the sentiment that it makes no difference if you are rich or poor, when your time on earth is done, we all end up the same, so enjoy life now.

Other popular altar displays at the Festival include the “pet altar” with animal representation ranging from kittens to flamingos, and “Blue Heaven,” a tribute to Dodger greats who have passed.

In addition to altars, other Festival attractions include hands-on art workshops in silk-screen and water color, a music “petting zoo,” bilingual children’s story time and puppet shows, continuous all-day entertainment on three stages: ballet folklorico in the Theatre, beer/wine garden with live music and dancing in the zocalo, and variety acts on the Community Stage, 10+ food trucks, 30+ vendors offering top of the line merchandise, fine art exhibits, children’s art exhibit, car altars, sugar skull decorating, papel picado demonstrations, and much more.

The festival is Sunday, Oct. 29, from 11 am to 8 pm at the Downey Theatre. Admission and parking are free.

Festival sponsors and community supporters include the City of Downey, Downey Parks and Recreation, Avenue Press, Estrella Jalisco, Boomers Insurance, Café Bustelo, Downey Federal Credit Union, Downey Nissan, Farmers Insurance, Kaleo Marketing, L.A. Metro, New York Life Insurance, Nova Storage, Panera Bakery, PIH Health, Rose Hills, Shasta, Sylvan Learning Centers, Tequila Mandala, and the Water Replenishment District of Los Angeles.


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