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An estimated 500 people attended the ninth annual Día de los Muertos event, held at the St. Helena campus of Napa Valley College, enjoying food, art activities and entertainment.

Eighteen altars were created for the event, including those by Nimbus Arts with local classroom students, UpValley Family Centers’ CLARO/CLARA youth groups, RLS students studying about immigration, Rianda House Senior Activity Center, Napa County Public Health and local families.

Master of Ceremonies was Norma Ferriz, operations director at UpValley Family Centers, who dressed up as La Muerte from the movie “The Book of Life.” The UVFC event organizer was Blanca Tallerico.

Following the event, Ferriz said, “This is still the best event in the valley regarding the Zero Waste initiative. We were able to divert 90 percent of the residues from the event to recycle and compost, thanks to the support of the Interact Club from the St. Helena High School and Upper Valley Waste Management Agency.”

Besides the altars, the Día de los Muertos Community Celebration was filled with multicultural activities, including free art activities including retablos, tin arts and sugar skulls; diverse Latin American music and dance performances; storytelling with Olga Loya; face painting; and locally made food at low cost. UVFC will also showcase the various services available to individuals and families Upvalley.

Jenny Ocón, executive director of UpValley Family Centers, noted, “After the hard work of harvest, this annual event was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon relaxing with family and friends. For many, it was a chance to celebrate a tradition they grew up with and love; for others it is an opportunity to learn and experience a new cultural tradition right here in St. Helena. It is a beautiful event, and we were proud to host it again this year with Nimbus Arts.”

The event is sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, Kaiser Permanente, First Five Napa County, Sarah and Alan Galbraith, Jones Family Vineyards, and the Cave Company. It was held Sunday, Nov. 1.

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