Aurora Downtown once again will turn downtown into Sugar Skull City from Oct. 15 to Nov. 7 and fill downtown with Day of the Dead activities.
The event’s second year features a three-week celebration honoring the beloved Mexican cultural tradition of Day of the Dead, and coincides with events during First Fridays on Nov. 5, and a Day of the Dead festival from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at the bank lot on the southeast corner of Broadway and Galena.
Downtown storefronts are decorated with festive displays for the holiday. Local artists will paint storefronts with Day of the Dead artwork.
Local artists are decorating downtown storefront with a “Day of the Dead” theme. Last year, Pierre Lucero designed this “Sugar Skull Society” window at Society 57.
– Courtesy of Amy Nelson
This year, Sugar Skull City will feature alebrijes for its downtown-wide scavenger hunt. Alebrije art submitted by two dozen local artists and students will be displayed in downtown windows.
Aurora Public Art is installing an alebrije mural on the BNSF viaduct wall along New York Street, under the railroad bridge east of Broadway. In addition, stop by Aurora Public Art’s gallery at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, featuring the “Nine Steps to Mictlán: A Day of the Dead Art” exhibit continuing through Nov. 13. Fósil, an international artist from Mexico, is exploring the theme of the nine regions of Mictlán for a “Día de los Muertos” exhibit. The nine regions of Mictlán or Chiconauhmictlán refer to the underworld of Mexican culture. It is a worldview of Nahua beliefs related to space and time, structuring a universe in parcels or regions determined by living forces. Its creation is due to the so-called “creator gods” (Xipetótec, Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcóatl and Huitzilopochtli).
Ofrendas, or altars, honoring the dead will be on display at Santori Public Library and at several downtown merchants including multiple storefronts on Broadway including Balderas Beauty Salon and Divas, 25 N. Broadway. Alebrijes are mythical animals from Mexican folk art. The brightly colored and fantastical animals were dreamed up by Mexico City artist Pedro Linares in the late 1930s. The Mexican state of Oaxaca has since popularized the craft of carved wooden alebrijes. Tag the ones you find @downtownaurora on Instagram for giveaways.
Day of the Dead items will be for sale including fresh flower bouquets from Blissful Blooms, 55 S. Lake St., and Sugar Skull City tote bags and artisan items at Wyckwood House, 14 W. Downer Place, and The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange, 8 N. Broadway.
More than 40 downtown businesses are participating. A map is available at sugarskullcity.com.
Virtual content that includes a sugar skull making tutorial, an Aztec dance ceremony, and more is also available on the website.
“We welcome everyone to visit and to learn about Day of the Dead while supporting downtown businesses,” said Marissa Amoni, manager of Aurora Downtown.
Amoni said that about a third of downtown businesses are Hispanic-owned.
For more information, a schedule of events, restaurant specials, downloadable coloring pages, and virtual content, visit auroradowntown.org.