Instead of mourning the passing of loved ones, the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrates them with huge bashes and colorful festivals. As South Florida gears up for next week's holiday, New Times has rounded up some of the region's best happenings. You can even win two round-trip tickets to Mexico. From block parties to workshops and exhibitions, the best Day of the Dead events in South Florida are here at your fingertips.
1. Eighth-Annual Florida Day of the Dead Celebration. Last year, more than 10,000 attendees took to the streets of Fort Lauderdale to honor the dearly departed at a massive Day of the Dead celebration. If you haven't witnessed the spectacle in all its festive glory, here's your chance to be a part of the fun. The night features jam-packed festivities ranging from mask- and puppet-making to sugar-skull face painting to street performers, lowriders, and other activities. Be prepared for your jaw to drop when puppets as tall as 19 feet, skeletons, and mariachi musicians make their way along the Riverwalk to the Folklórico Stage during the skeleton processional. You can check out the festival's full list of events here. This is definitely one Day of the Dead celebration that will inspire FOMO. 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, November 2, in downtown Fort Lauderdale, dayofthedeadflorida.com. Admission is free.
2. Día de Muertos Celebration at HistoryMiami Museum. Venture to Florida's largest history museum and experience an authentic Día de los Muertos fiesta with live paintings, performances, and other diversions, including an incredible ofrenda display. (Ofrendas, or offerings, are altars made in honor of deceased loved ones and often including photos, their favorite foods, water, candles, sugar skulls, marigolds, and the deceased's personal possessions.) Kick off the night by decorating your own sugar skull, and dig into delicious Mexican dishes. Don't miss the Ameyal Mexican Cultural Organization's performance explaining the history behind the tradition. You'll be dropping knowledge bombs on all of your friends after this one. For the night's schedule of events, visit the museum's site here. 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 1, at HistoryMiami Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-1492; historymiami.org. Admission is free with RSVP via historymiami.org.
3. Día de los Muertos Lake Worth. The trek to Palm Beach County from Miami-Dade isn't short. But because a $14,550 grant from the State of Florida is helping to fund this second-annual festival, you know it will be a celebration of epic proportions. Lake Worth will honor those who have passed at its free family-friendly bash with a slew of happenings ranging from a procession to folkloric dances to live music, face painting, live art demonstrations, and so much more. Bonus: Festival parking is free. 4 p.m. Saturday, November 4, at Hatch 1121, 1121 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth; 561-493-2550; lakewortharts.com. Admission and parking are free.
4. Community Ofrendas and Inspired by Frida Day of the Dead Art Exhibition. The monthlong event, hosted by the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and part of Florida Day of the Dead, presents 37 artists in its sacred community exhibition. Through Thursday, November 2, at New River Inn at Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, 231 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-463-4431; fortlauderdalehistoricalsociety.org. Free with museum admission.
5. Día de Muertos at Talavera. Is the monotony of your 9-to-5 giving you fantasies of beachside splendor? You're in luck. This Coral Gables restaurant is offering an epic prize to the winner of its festive costume contest: two round-trip tickets from Miami to any Aeroméxico destination in Mexico. Start working on those costumes, amigo. Even if your festive look doesn't rival those of the competition, the live band, Oaxacan-themed menu (served November 2 through 5), and cocktails will make your Día de los Muertos one to remember. 6 p.m. Thursday, November 2, at Talavera Cocina Mexicana, 2299 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables; 305-444-2955; talaveraspot.jaguarhg.com.
6. Day of the Dead Music Festival. Churchill's, the 38-year-old dank punk cave in Little Haiti, is offering a stacked lineup, including Revolution, Escape, Eunoia, Osceola Brothers, Born Beneath, and other acts, across two stages. Get your face painted, chow down, and get ready to rage as Miami's best rock club brings you a night that will probably make you feel less than alive come Saturday morning. 8 p.m. Friday, November 3, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission costs $5 for ages 21 and over, and $10 for ages 18 to 20.
7. Day of the Dead Margarita Festival. Tijuana Taxi Co.'s Day of the Dead Margarita Festival will take place at all three of its Broward locations, in Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, and Davie. Each location's celebration will offer something a little different, ranging from special margarita flavors to a live mariachi band, a Power 96 DJ, and other fun. If you're looking for an all-out bash, the Coral Springs location will host what's sure to be an epic block party. But one thing remains constant: lots of tequila. Head to the Facebook events page to see what's going down at each of the locations. It's gonna be a booze fest. 11 a.m. Saturday, November 4, at Tijuana Taxi Co., 4400 S. University Dr., Davie, 954-472-5008; 901 N. University Dr., Coral Springs, 954-344-9201; 1015 S. Federal Hwy., Deerfield Beach, 954-708-2775; tijuanataxico.com. Admission is free; $5 cover at 7 p.m. at Coral Springs location benefitting Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund.
8. Día de los Muertos at Bodega South Beach. The annual Día de los Muertos fiesta is returning to this famed South Beach taqueria. Through the restaurant's blue porta-potty doors, down the graffitied hall, and past the urinals hides a chic lounge that will serve $5 Herradura cocktails and shots from 6 to 10 p.m. Show up early to get your face painted during happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. And if you're craving some late-night grub after an evening of throwing a few back, be sure to order the Barbacoa tacos, dubbed one of the ten best tacos in Miami by New Times. 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 1, at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, 1220 16th St., Miami Beach; 305-704-2145; bodegasouthbeach.com. Admission is free.
9. Día de los Muertos at Rockwell. Our slice of paradise is like catnip for the rich and famous. It's pretty common to spot a celebrity on South Beach, especially if you're partying at this exclusive Washington Avenue hot spot, named one of South Beach's best dance clubs by New Times. Get down and celebrate the occasion in true Miami fashion when the club's weekly hump-day bacchanal, Kiss Me I’m Latin, turns into a Día de los Muertos party. 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 1, at Rockwell, 743 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-793-3882; rockwellmiami.com. Table reservations are available via rockwellmiami.com
10. Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Workshop at Flamingo Clay Gallery. Get loose with some free juice and wine, and find your hidden artist deep down inside. Do you plan to make an ofrenda for a lost loved one on Día de los Muertos? Paint your own clay sugar skull at this two-hour workshop taught by artist Tracy Guiteau. The event is family-friendly, and materials are included. Don't forget to register for the workshop here. 6 p.m. Saturday, October 28, at Flamingo Clay Gallery, 15 South F St., Lake Worth; 561-284-6807; clayglassmetalstonegallery.com. Tickets cost $40 plus fees via eventbrite.com.
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