Nothing is more awesome than eating a freshly made chicken quesadilla and sipping on a Mexican Coke (Coca-Cola manufactured in Mexico, who knew?) while watching a massive crowd of face-painted, rowdy, undead skeletons parade through downtown Fort Lauderdale. Seriously, there’s nothing like it. I have to give major credit to the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. I really enjoyed the event, which took place on Nov. 2, and I am so ready to go again next year.
The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday following Halloween that celebrates the lives of those who are no longer with us. Those who celebrate the holiday create small (or extravagant) shrines to honor their deceased family member, which are usually decorated in the most unique manner.
I absolutely loved the artistic touch that graced this event. Local artists displayed their work in an interpretation of Dia de los Muertos. A huge warehouse was filled with artwork depicting what the artist felt was “deceased” and demanded recognition. Some of which included: the death of femininity, religion, contraceptives and a confusing display of crushed light bulbs. I’m sure there was symbolism in there somewhere. Not to mention, there were actual shrines of people’s loved ones, decorated in their favorite things.
The half-Mexican in me celebrated along with the rest of the partygoers in a colorful display of costumes, face-paint, and cerveza. When I wasn’t completely captivated by all the artwork on display, I was busy chasing down the skeleton parade. Huge puppet skeletons, created by the Puppet Network’s Jim Hammond, were dancing down the streets of Las Olas through Andrews Avenue to the FAT Arts Village District, followed by a not-so-dead crowd decked out in skeleton attire. I have never seen the dead dance before, but I sure came close.
Plenty of local bands came out. Witnessing new, raw talent was just too great to pass up. I was dragging my friends around all night running from warehouse to warehouse in the search of new bands and music that hasn’t been played to death by Power 96. At the Iron Forge Stage, the band Planet Abyss blew me away with their rock/alternative beats (call me, sexy half-naked lead singer!). Loud music, glow sticks, strobe lights and lasers…who wouldn’t call that heaven is beyond me.
The worst part of the night was the lack of ATMs. Since most of the stands were cash only (and of course, sold the most awesome knick-knacks I’ve ever seen), I was left without a souvenir and that all-American hamburger (which I was ridiculed to death for even suggesting) I had my eye on. Also, I was denied access to a puppet show. I had to pay $15 to see it and that was definitely not going to happen. Get real dude, I’m in college and that is 14-dollars worth of $1 menu items. But the Day of the Dead was definitely worth my time.