Photo by Ruda Anderson.

The Hughes Family Tribute Center is holding an event to commemorate Día de los Muertos.

Stephanie and DeWayne Hughes, the co-owners of the funeral home, have ties to our neighborhood besides being local business owners. Stephanie is a graduate of W.T. White High School, and DeWayne went to Thomas Jefferson High School.

For Día de los Muertos, a day commonly celebrated in Mexican families to honor loved ones who have died, the center is planning several activities. The Hugheses started holding a celebration seven years ago, and it’s grown since then. Last year’s event was limited due to the pandemic, but Stephanie estimates about 400 people attended the 2019 celebration.

“The reason we started the whole thing was, I just looked out at my cemetery and it was full of my families. And I’m like, ‘We gotta do something. I mean, they’re all here. Let’s do something,'” Stephanie said.

This year, since the day falls on a Tuesday, the event is planned for Nov. 2 and Nov. 6. The Nov. 2 events will be scaled down, Stephanie says, and more geared toward families. The Saturday activities will be geared toward a larger public crowd.

Performances by Mayan dance group Grupo Pakal and live music by Mariachi Lone Star and Fusión Latina are on the schedule, and they’ll take part in the parade on Nov. 6. This year, the Mayan dancers will explain the differrent elements of the dance, which includes fire, incense and calling the dead.

“It’s very important to us to stay authentic,” Stephanie said.

In addition, there will be art projects, entertainment for kids and a screening of “Coco.” A clown and stilt walkers have come to the celebration in the past. Art projects might include sugar skulls and coloring. Food, including from a taco vendor, and beverages will be available to purchase.

A more specific schedule will be posted on the tribute center’s Facebook page closer to the event.

The event, located at the Crown Hill Memorial Park at 9718 Webb Chapel Road, is free and open to the public. Attendees will be asked to wear masks and socially distance.

Earlier this year, the Hugheses hosted a butterfly release on Mother’s Day.

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