Old Town Mankato hosts Day of the Dead festival

An expansion to the annual trick-or-treating event sparks massive success
Published: Oct. 30, 2021 at 11:00 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Day of the Dead arrived in Old Town Mankato Saturday.

El Dia de los Muertos is the Latin American holiday that celebrates the dead and honors them, rather than mourning them.

The holiday is officially celebrated on the first and second of November, but a sunny Saturday and an open street gave an opportunity that couldn’t be passed on.

Riverfront Drive in Mankato was blocked off from the Wine Café to Mom & Pop’s to make room for the event.

Small businesses brought an unforgettable experience: from inflated black cats, to photo ops, to even the Ecto-1.

Featured guests included a Mariachi band, Folklore dancers and DJ-AO as Master of Ceremonies.

In years’ past, Old Town was home to community trick-or-treating, but a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council meant that this year, the event could be bigger than ever before.

“Turnout has been greater than expectations, previous years we have closed down nothing, this year we closed down the street, previous years we have had kids almost spilling into the street, it was getting to be a safety concern, this year we were able to shut down the street,” explained Old Town business owner Greg Fenske.

While the event was filled with contemporary Halloween themes, with trick-or-treating, costumes and candy, the event’s cultural origins were all on full display.

“Just, seeing the Latino community come out, and enjoy and celebrate. Everybody is being so respectful and it’s just looking great everybody is having a great time and the community came out in full force today,” said event founder Justin Ek.

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