On Sunday, November 5, 2023, at noon the Riverview Farmers Market kicks off their 9th annual Days of the Dead celebration with a giant puppet and community parade at Riverview Park.
A large communal memorial altar or “Ofrenda” will be constructed in the Riverview Park gazebo for the official Día de Los Muertos on Thursday, November 2, and remain standing through the celebration on November 5. On Thursday, the markets will host a community gathering, including a performance by traditional Mexican dance group Sueño Americano at 6 p.m. The Ofrenda is a cornerstone tradition of the holiday where residents can place photos of loved ones that have passed and offerings of food and flowers.
In addition to the giant puppet parade and altar, Sunday’s festivities will also include live music from Mariachi Oro de Mexico, Sueño Americano, face painting, and entertainment for the whole family. To bookend the event, Busy Bee Organics will be hosting mini pumpkin painting from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the Riverview Neighborhood Association will host their annual Pet Costume Contest beginning around 1 p.m. at the Market.
The event has become an annual tradition in partnership with local Mexican-American artist Santiago Cohen, who is the visionary behind the giant puppets. Cohen crafts the puppets by hand in his local studio and also provides DIY kits to the community to build their own puppets for the parade, which will be available at the Market on Sunday, October 22.
“This is a holiday that belongs to everyone,” Cohen explained. “Everyone has a loving person in their lives that they have lost and this celebration is a way to honor and remember them and bring them to your life again. To me, that is the most important part.”
Each year, more and more of the Jersey City Heights and Hudson County community has embraced the Market’s celebration of Mexican culture, and for the second year in a row local businesses are also joining in with window displays and activities. Riverview Wines will be offering a free Tequila and Mezcal tasting from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, October 27, and other Heights businesses like Ichiban To Go, Fox & Crow, ModCup, Lil Dove, Lucky Honeybee, The Cliff, and more will be offering Day-of-the-Dead themed specials.
Originating with the Aztec people of Mexico, Días de Los Muertos or Days of the Dead is traditionally held November 1 and 2 each year to honor the memory of lost loved ones through celebration.
View complete event schedule here.
About Riverview Farmers Market
The Riverview Farmers Market is held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Riverview-Fisk Park, located at Palisade Avenue between Bowers and Griffith Streets, from May through November. It is organized by the local non-profit organization Farms in the Heights and has been serving the Jersey City Heights community with local vendors and free events for more than 12 years.
About Santiago Cohen
Santiago Cohen is a Mexican/American artist and author. He has worked as a designer, illustrator and Animator for HBO, the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and PBS. Santiago has written and illustrated more than 20 children’s books and graphic novels. He has made a successful career in Fine Art, with shows in galleries and Museums in New York, New Jersey, and Mexico. He has been the Artistic Director of the Day of the Dead Parade in Jersey City since 2014. Santiago had a seminal show for Morris Arts at the Atrium of the Courthouse in the fall 2021. Santiago was one of 26 influential people to have “Great Conversations” in the event organized by Morris Arts in April 2022. Recently, he was accepted for the 14c Art Fair of New Jersey in the fall of 2022.
About Music & Art in the Park Programming by Riverview Farmers Market
This program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a division of the Department of State, and administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive & the Hudson County Board of County Commissioners.This program is also supported by public funds from the Jersey City Arts & Culture Trust Fund. Riverview Farmers Market and Farms in the Heights appreciate the support of both the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs and the Jersey City Arts & Culture Trust Fund.