Kansas City’s Dia de los Muertos celebrations kick off on Friday and continue all month

The Mexican celebration of ancestors and deceased loved ones known as Dia de los Muertos is fast approaching, and Kansas City has big festivities planned. From commemorative altars to dance performances and crafts for kids, here’s what to look forward to during this festive season this year.

First Friday Opening Exhibit

Oct. 7, 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.

This celebration to officially kick off Dia De los Muertos celebrations in Kansas City will be held at the Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center’s new building at 1701 Jarboe St. on the Westside.

Nearly a dozen food vendors will be on site, along with entertainment including mariachi music and traditional Mexican dance. You’ll also get a chance to view the center’s Dia de los Muertos gallery exhibition by local artists, featuring the work of Juan Moya.

An altar honoring artists Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera was installed in Kirkwood Hall at the Nelson Atkins for a past Dia de los Muertos celebration.
An altar honoring artists Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera was installed in Kirkwood Hall at the Nelson Atkins for a past Dia de los Muertos celebration.

Fiesta Friday at the Crossroads Hotel

Oct. 21, 9 p.m. until 11 p.m.

This celebration at the Crossroads Hotel’s XR Cafe will feature live music, a community altar, and specialty food and drink options inspired by Dia de los Muertos. This Friday evening event is best suited for adults.

Dia de los Muertos Celebration at the Kansas City Museum

Oct. 22, 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

This fun-filled festival will bring the Dia de los Muertos festivities to the historic Northeast portion of the city.

Held at the Kansas City Museum at 3218 Gladstone Blvd, the celebration will center a large community altar installation. You can expect live music, puppet shows, face painting, food, vendors and art activities for kids at this family-friendly event.

Isabelle Gonzalez of Olathe hugged a calaca operated by Heather Loewenstein of Stone Lion Puppets in 2016.
Isabelle Gonzalez of Olathe hugged a calaca operated by Heather Loewenstein of Stone Lion Puppets in 2016.

Dia de los Muertos Festival at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Oct. 30, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

This annual celebration will feature an interactive altar installation where you can leave a tribute to a loved one who has died. The altar will be created by the Mattie Rhodes Center, local artists and school groups.

The day will also feature kids’ activities, traditional Mexican dance performances, mariachi bands and Mexican food for sale from a variety of local vendors.

Calaca Parade and Closing Celebration at Mattie Rhodes

Nov. 4, 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.

This festive parade marks the end of Dia de los Muertos, when figures of skeletons, or calacas, chase the souls of the departed back into the spirit world.

The parade will wind through the Westside neighborhood from the Mattie Rhodes Cultural Center. Stop by to participate in the parade and enjoy food trucks, vendors, entertainment and a last look at the center’s art exhibition.

Hundreds visited the Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall to celebrate Día de los Muertos in 2016.
Hundreds visited the Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall to celebrate Día de los Muertos in 2016.

Guadalupe Centers Dia de los Muertos Celebration

Nov. 4, 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

This event will feature a traditional altar, ceremonial dancing and fun family activities like face painting, food vendors, arts and crafts and live entertainment.

The celebration will be held both inside and outside the Guadalupe Centers administrative building at 1015 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez.

Central Avenue Dia de los Muertos Celebration, Kansas City, Kansas

Nov. 5, noon until 9 p.m.

This annual parade and festival will have something for everyone: a car show for the adults, face painting for the kids and art, food and live entertainment for the whole family.

Get there by 3 p.m. to see the walking Catrinas — people dressed as elegantly adorned skeletons — and stay for the parade that starts at 6 p.m.

Do you have more questions about seasonal activities in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.