By Rebecca Canales,
Founder and CEO
Whittier 360 News Network
Whittier, CA — In a meeting held earlier this evening, the Whittier City Council approved plans for the annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival. The festival will be held on Saturday, October 8th, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Greenleaf Avenue in the Uptown Whittier Business District. The event is expected to attract between 2,500 and 3,000 attendees.
Partnership for Cultural Engagement
This year's festival will be organized by Casita del Pueblo, in partnership with REACH, both non-profit organizations. Yolanda Garcia, a former school teacher and the main organizer from Casita del Pueblo, expressed the event's aim to offer a family-friendly, free event celebrating the cultural holiday Dia de los Muertos. The festival will feature artist vendors, community booths, altar/art installations, face painting, a tribute car show, live music, and performances. Additionally, local schools, businesses, and non-profits are invited to participate.
A Boost to Local Economy and Community
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is sponsoring the festival this year. According to Garcia, the Uptown business community would significantly benefit from the event, providing exposure and promoting cultural awareness. Whittier City Manager Brian Saeki recommended approval of the permit and assistance with security funding, suggesting that the city waive its fees in those areas.
Safety Measures and Logistics
Privately contracted security will be present to ensure public safety. A minimum of 16 security guards will be on duty throughout the event, as well as during the setup and teardown phases. Whittier Police Department and Whittier Uptown Association have set guidelines that the security staff must adhere to.
Mayor Joe Vinatieri Recuses Himself
The proposal was unanimously approved by the Whittier City Council, with Mayor Joe Vinatieri abstaining from the vote due to a potential conflict of interest—his family owns a business in the Uptown Business District where the festival will take place.
A Tradition of Community Building
The festival has grown popular over the years, with past events raising an average of $2,500 for local non-profits. This year, the nonprofit beneficiary will be R.E.A.C.H., which serves Whittier students and residents with disabilities.
Garcia concluded her remarks by saying, "We hope that the City of Whittier can assist and support our event in the capacity of police and security efforts. We would like our fees to be waived and for the City of Whittier to partner with the event by providing their excellent police intel services that would protect our community and continue to provide a safe and positive experience for the event."
It is clear that the Dia De Los Muertos Festival is more than just a cultural celebration; it's an integral part of the Whittier community, offering economic, cultural, and educational benefits to the residents and local businesses alike.