The sweet smell of marigolds, sugar skulls and pan de muerto are coming to Maricopa.
The city’s first Día de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — celebration will take place at Global Water Resources this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The annual Mexican holiday honors loved ones who’ve passed away.
While the city gave a nod to the holiday at past events like the Salsa Festival, this will be the first large-scale event dedicated to Día de los Muertos, said organizer Kim Myers.
“My husband and I are small business owners here and we just felt that it was important to bring part of our culture to the city and share a part of who we are,” she said. “We’re doing this to honor our grandparents and family.”
Myers said Ofrenda: A Día de los Muertos Community Celebration is free to attend and centered around the ofrenda, an elaborate altar honoring the deceased.
Altars are often covered in marigolds, candles, papel picado and photos of loved ones, along with food, drinks and personal items.
The event will feature a handful of individual ofrendas made by community members, as well as a sprawling community ofrenda. Residents are invited to bring photos or items for deceased family members, friends or even pets.
“Everyone is welcome to participate if they want to or they can just come to view it,” Myers said. “People can bring an item or a photo of their loved one and they can place it on the ofrenda.”
Attendees can decorate their own sugar skulls and watch live performances while learning about the holiday’s significance. Local vendors and food trucks will also be present.
Myers said she hopes the community can unite to learn about the cultural tradition and celebrate the lives of loved ones.
“I think it’s important to carry on these types of traditions and share it with others not familiar with it,” Myers said. “It’s important to remember our loved ones. It can be sad because there’s people still in mourning, but it’s also about celebrating life and comes from a happy place. It’s a celebration and remembrance of life.”