Mattie Rhodes Día de los Muertos Street Festival

Amelia Holcomb, News Editor

The Mattie Rhodes center, located in Kansas City, MO, annually hosts a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. Although Day of the Dead isn’t until November first, Mattie Rhodes gave the community two chances to celebrate it early, one of which I went to. Mattie Rhodes provides bilingual family services and support, youth development, community support, and cultural arts to the Kansas City community it serves.

This celebration itself was a street festival involving the surrounding community. The street in front of the Mattie Rhodes center was blocked off and vendors lined the sides of the street, selling everything from dresses to pastries. Live music was playing, and children as well as adults participated in traditional latin dancing and Brazilian street style dancing. Adults and children dressed in varying costumes and face paint roamed the streets, while a huge rolling Día de Los Muertos doll led a small parade down the center of the streets, closely followed by a skeleton in stilts.

Inside the actual center was local art relating to Day of the Dead and a lower level housed altars for loved ones. A widely celebrated tradition of Day of the Dead is to create an altar celebrating the life of a family member or friend who has passed. Altars are covered with pictures of the person, their favorite foods, and any objects that were special to them. I’ve always heard about Mexican altars in Spanish class, but it was a very interesting experience to see so many elaborate and authentic altars in one place.

Mattie Rhodes’ Day of the Dead celebration was fun and  entertaining, offered learning experiences and food for visitors. It was a great way to be reminded of local culture right here in the Kansas City area. I would definitely recommend going to their next and final celebration for this year’s Day of the Dead, which will be a light parade Nov. 6 from 6-10 pm. The address is 915 & 919 W. 17th Street Kansas City, MO 64108.