Day of the Dead Lives On

Texas' biggest Dia de los Muertos celebration pays tribute with virtual event

Texas' biggest Dia de los Muertos celebration goes virtual for 2020

Dia de los Muertos Fest
The parades are off, but Muertos Fest is on — your TV. Muertos Fest/Facebook

Billed as Texas' largest Dia de los Muertos celebration, Muertos Fest is back — and it's going virtual. Though the annual event is traditionally held in downtown San Antonio, this year it will be broadcast live on TV and streaming online.

In anticipation of its October 31 event, organizers have released details about this year's lineup, all to be enjoyed within the comfort of your home. 

This year, the eighth annual Día de los Muertos at Hemisfair is going virtual amid the pandemic, and it's conjuring a fantastical primetime event for the occasion. Texas filmmaker Jim Mendiola has been tapped to create the one-hour special, a mix of spoken word, dance, and music, all in celebration of San Antonio's unique take on the Day of the Dead. 

Leading the musical lineup is Los Lobos, joined by Lila Downs, Carla Morrison, and San Antonio legend Santiago Jimenez Jr. Musical guests Los Nahuatlatos and Tallercito de Son will perform live.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Selena's death, Nina Diaz and Chris Perez will perform the pop superstar's "Fotos Y Recuerdos," accompanied by Mariachi Campanas De America and Ceci Zavala.

Other highlights include appearances from San Antonio poets and the debut of a short film by Ray Santisteban.

Organizers say this year's fest will pay tribute to those affected by COVID-19 within the Latinx community, which has lost disproportionate numbers to the novel coronavirus across Texas and the country.

“If there ever was a time to honor those we’ve lost to the disease, and to thank those farmworkers and care givers and grocery store clerks, it’s now,” Mendiola said in a release. “Covid’s impact on the Latino community has been especially hard and we will remember lives lived, and recognize the resilience of our community through altars, songs and stories of those we’ve lost,” he added.

And since mass gatherings at community altars are out of the question this year, the Muertos Fest special will also feature ofrendas built by the community. Viewers who tune in can see these time honored traditions and learn the stories behind them from the altar makers.

Actor Jesse Borrego will join FOX29 anchor Mayde Gomez as host of this special event, which airs on Saturday, October 31, at 7 pm on CW35 in San Antonio. Those who miss the live broadcast or live outside the viewing area can catch the rebroadcast online on November 1 at 7 pm.