Best Festival (2013)

Noche de Altares

The gargantuan Día de los Muertos celebration that happens every November in downtown SanTana is already such an institution that most people don't realize it has only been around for 11 years and has a formal name—Noche de Altares (Night of Altars, for those of you who don't habla)—and is run by the amazing nonprofit El Centro Cultural de México and muy bueno Cafe Calacas. It doesn't matter: tens of thousands of people converge to see hundreds of altars devoted to commemorating the dead, constructed by everyone from individuals to families, nonprofits to community groups (but never, never corporations). Throw in great Mexican food and bands, a lively marketplace, and an accepting environment in which class, race and cities mix in a way few other events in OC can ever dream of, and Noche de Altares isn't so much a festival as it is a celebration of our modern-day naranja. The fun happens this Nov. 2, starting at 1 p.m.—see you then!


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