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Denton’s ofrenda

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A young woman crosses the finish line at the coffin race in 2015.
Photos by Tabitha Gray

Sugar skulls and cobwebs with fake spiders decorate windows in shops lining the Denton square as businesses prepare for Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival which will be held on Oct. 29.

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A gentleman dressed as a skeleton with a painted skull face

Since 2011, Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival has brought coffin races, pumpkin patches, comedy horror shows and salsa competitions to town. The creator of the festival claims the celebration mixes the best of autumn holidays together.

Founder and Creative Director of Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival, David Anzaldúa explained on the festival’s webpage: “To a musician like me, Denton has always been a blend of many different talents and genres of music. This artistic blend of talent and styles led me to create the concept behind Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival. Why not have a festival that reflects the diversity of the people of Denton? Something not altogether Dia de los Muertos, or Halloween, or harvest related, but a little bit of everything?”

The festival may be attended by anyone at no charge, although certain things at the festival do cost money. Participants in the Salsa cook-off competition must pay a $20 entrance fee and be prepared to make two gallons of salsa for a chance to win The Salsa Cup. The deadline for registering in the coffin races has passed, but everyone is welcome to watch the races.

Many college students from the Denton area find their way to this festival where all-you-can-eat chips and salsa only costs $5 and a chance to participate in a twilight lantern parade while dressed in costume are found and well-received.

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