Carbondale Arts to host 19th annual Dia de los Muertos celebration on First Friday

The Dia de los Muertos event will feature a procession down Main Street in Carbondale on Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Don’t defrost your winter holiday decorations just yet — Carbondale will have its 19th annual Dia de los Muertos celebration this First Friday with dancers, food, activities and plenty of family-friendly entertainment. 

The event is hosted by Carbondale Arts and will feature performances, face-painting, Lotería, pan de muerto, Mexican hot chocolate, a Catrina costume contest (with a $100 prize), a community procession and the opportunity to contribute your mementos to the community ofrenda. The activities will be split between The Launchpad and the Carbondale Public Library, during which the stage will be lit with performances by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico, Mezcla Socials Dance, Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra and more. 

“The streets will be packed,” said Jamie Abbott, executive director of Carbondale Arts. “There are people lined all up and down Main Street … It will be completely full.” 

The community ofrenda will be located on the front patio of The Launchpad, where guests are welcome to add their own photos or mementos of loved ones up to a week after the celebration. Ofrendas created by businesses will also be displayed along Carbondale’s Main Street. Beginning at noon on Friday, those who wish to create their own ofrendas can do so in Chacos Park on a first-come-first-serve basis until the limited space is filled up. 

“It’s part of Carbondale’s monthly First Friday celebrations, and so one of the purposes is to drive community to come to Main Street and be part of the community,” Abbott said. “And First Fridays is part of economic development that the town supports … It’s a monthly celebration that Carbondale Arts supports that really just makes town feel vibrant and fun.” 

The night’s main attraction will be a procession through town with large puppets and dancing. The procession will begin at 6 p.m. at the Third Street Center, traverse through Third Street to Main Street, and conclude at the Fourth Street Plaza. The procession is open to the public, so all are welcome to participate. 

Part of the event will also be honoring Judith Alvarez, a trained physician with bilingual clinic La Clínica del Pueblo, or The People’s Clinic. 

“I feel like it’s important to say that Carbondale Arts just helps bring everybody together, but it’s really an event driven by the Latino community in town and by all of these collaborations,” Abbott said. “Carbondale has a large Latino community, and whether it’s people from further downvalley who come to Carbondale to work or people who live here in town, or it’s a nice halfway place for the whole valley, it feels like an important way to bring the whole community together.” 

The celebration of the Day of the Dead is traditionally recognized on Nov. 1-2. The holiday is dedicated to honoring and remembering the lives of loved ones who have passed away.  

“Indigenous Day of the Dead festivities include practices such as decorating graves or making altars with personal mementos and scattering of marigold flowers to mark a path for the souls to return to earth. In celebrating Day of the Dead, death does not refer to an absence, but to a living presence; in this sense, it’s a celebration of transcendence,” the Carbondale Arts Council website reads. 

The celebration will take place from 5-9 p.m. at 76 S. 4th St. The event is a giant collaboration between different nonprofit organizations and individuals in Carbondale. Below is a schedule of the activities: 

  • 5 p.m. on Fourth Street Plaza:
    • Face painting 
    • Art activities & exhibitions 
    • Food trucks 
    • Live performances 
  • 6 p.m. on Third Street Center
    • A procession through downtown with large puppets and dancing by Ballet Folklórico begins at Third Street Center and ends back at 4th Street Plaza. View the route here. 
  • 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Fourth Street Plaza
    • More live performances by Ballet Folklórico, Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra, Mezcla Socials Dance, Samuel & Iliana Bernal. 
    • Catrina costume contest ($100 prize!) 

To see the full schedule of events, visit For questions, email

If you go…

What: Dia de los Muertos

When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3

Where: 76 S. 4th St, Carbondale

How much: Free

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