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Dia De Los Muertos Festival returns to downtown Oceanside

Manuel Navarro and his wife Chema have been driving their classic cars to Oceanside’s Dia De Los Muertos Festival for 12 years.

Navarro is the president of the Por Siempre Car Club.

“Actually my wife is the one who came up with the idea of putting the ofrenda in the trunk of the car and we just related it into our car show and we started that in 2009 at the mission,” said Navarro.

This Sunday, the festival will be held in Downtown Oceanside near City Hall from 10A.M. to 5 P.M.

The event returns to celebrate its 20th Anniversary after the pandemic put a hold on their annual celebration.

In past years, the festival was held at Mission San Luis Rey.

But the large crowds brought too much wear and tear to the historic property.

Cathy Nykiel is with Friends of Oceanside and helps organize the event.

She said the Downtown location is where the event started 20 years ago and has better accommodations for large crowds.

It will be held where Oceanside’s Sunset Market takes place every Thursday.

“Of course the entertainment, food.., and some shopping,” said Nykiel. “And then we have a lot of local partners that will be out there also, who want to reach out to our Latino community and to anybody else.”

Six blocks near City Hall will be closed off for the altars, classic cars, activities, entertainment, and the catrina contest.

A schedule for Sunday's event can be seen here.

Navarro said the festival is an opportunity to immerse the younger generations to a long standing Mexican tradition.

Dia De Los Muertos Festival returns to Downtown Oceanside

“Back home, back in Mexico we used to do processions from the church to the cemetery,” said Navarro. “To bring it out this way, a lot of people can enjoy it more and a lot of the young ones that don't know about this, are learning the traditions about Dia de los Muertos. That's a great feeling to have. Proud actually.”

Event organizers encourage the use of public transportation to help with traffic and parking.