This year is the 20th iteration of Missoula’s Festival of the Dead and all signs point to another colorful public celebration of the dearly departed. Based on the traditions of Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the event is a chance for artists and wannabes to honor lost loved ones via macabre artistic creations. The Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC), 235 N. 1st St., has recently hosted several workshops to help folks create Festival of the Dead paraphernalia, making steamroller prints and pasta skeletons. Before the parade, from 2 PM to 5 PM, ZACC invites people to come by for some free spooky sugar skull decorating and facepainting sponsored by Hospice of Missoula.
If you’re feeling like expressing yourself, it’s not too late to be a part of it all. The parade is a DIY event so all are welcome to join the procession, which begins at the Circle Square store near the XXXXs. Any costume will do but the more macabre the better. Perhaps, you’re feeling shy or you’re lucky to have very little loss in your life, then head down just to check out the myriad colors and shapes that have been inspired by the grief of others. Listen to the Soul City Brass Band as it passes, watch pole-mounted skeletons whirl above you and join the UM African Dance Class and Unity Dance & Drum for the parade finale at Caras Park. There is little one can do about dyin’ other than to celebrate the livin’ of those who’ve passed away. You can quote me on that.
The Festival of the Dead Procession is tonight Fri., Nov., 2 at 6:30 PM. It begins near the XXXXs on S. Higgins Ave. and ends at Caras Park. Free to attend.