It started with a snap of cold air, the smell of coffee, and numerous clicks of tables and tents unfolding, but in just a couple of hours the streets became lined with people and decorated skeletons, people as decorated skeletons, people getting their faces painted to become decorated skeletons and even people eating decorated skeletons. The 8th year of Denison Art Council’s Dia de Muertos, a beautiful Mexican celebration, brought area residents and guest to the city for a day of fun, tradition, culture Saturday.

Heritage Park churned out a variety of dancers and acts to take the stage. The Little Goddess Tribe, a group of local belly dancers, had their faces painted and adorned Dia de Muertos accessories while they shimmied for the crowd in transcendent harmony.

The elaborately dressed Van Alstyne Aztec Dancers performed powerful drum dance and The Celena 5 De Mayo Dancers gave a line dance in traditional Dia de Muertos dress.

Food trucks circled the park with everything from local fair of hand pies and corny dogs to more traditional street food including pupusas and Mexican corn. Mariachi bands, Mariachi Orgullo Mexicano and Mariachi Viva Mexico, set up throughout the festival giving a backdrop of music wherever patrons walked.

Lined up and down Main Street were vendors selling decorated skulls in all forms from key chains to clothing. Looking closely, there was an alpaca or two with petting times. Tables were scattered throughout the festival for family art activities.

MK Gallery had a complete ofrenda inside along with Metamorphosis art show, celebrating the passing of loved ones as well as transformations of all people, places and things. Entertainment up until the grand parade included a free showing of “Coco,” a Disney movie based on Dia de Muertos, at The Rialto on Main Street.

The parade was opened with the Denison Art Councils Art Van throwing candy to the crowd as a highly-detailed dragon car followed. A cascade of dancers, performers and musicians walked with the great puppets from Skiddy Street Puppet Company. People operating puppets of all sizes walked main street and delighted the crowd as they interacted with children and adults alike, allowing people to see the magic up front that Skiddy Street creates, a spectacular sight to behold.

It ended with the local heros from Denison Fire Station and classic cars tying up the end.

To be apart of next years lineup please visit Denison Art Council and the Skiddy Street Puppet Company on Facebook for more information.