|(November 4, 2018, 5:10 p.m.) -- As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, on October 9, the City Council voted
The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican celebration, remembering and preparing special foods to honor the dead (and some believe their spirits visit families on Oct. 31 and leave on Nov. 2.)
LBREPORT.com attended the LB event and recorded video (below) as we walked from the NW corner of 4th St./Pine Ave. where the event area began to midway through the 500 block of Pine where the event basically ended with line of portable toilets facing some vendor booths before reaching 6th/Pine.
The center of the event was in the mid-400 block of Pine Ave. where a large stage faced northward. A crowd filled the half block to 5th St. and also filled part of 5th St. extending roughly half a block east and west of Pine Ave. (with food vendors to the west and exhibits/performances to the east including a LB Arts Council booth offering Dia de los Muertos face-painting.)
[Scroll down for further.]
At the opening of the Oct. 23 Council meeting, 1st dist. Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez discussed the then-upcoming event, assisted by the Executive Director of LB Arts Council [a non-profit budgeted to receive $479,000 in City taxpayer funds in FY19] and the owner of the Pie Bar (a business in the mid-400 block of Pine Ave.) To hear the Oct. 23 Council presentation in full, click here.
In previewing the event on Oct. 23, Councilwoman Gonzalez said she began the event to replace the "Latin American Parade and Festival" [an event created by then-1st dist. Councilman Garcia, dropped after he became Mayor.] Councilwoman Gonzalez said on taking office [mid-2014] she "had to figure out a way to ensure that we had a cultural event that continued, and so we decided to do the Dia de los Muertos."The owner of the Pie Bar said the event last year was very good for her business.
LB Arts Council Executive Director Griselda Suarez said the event is a "tradition and ritual and celebration [that] dates back all the way to 2,000 BC. The Long Beach festival allows us to honor a lot of our cultural heritage here in Long Beach from our communities from Mexico and Central America. It also fosters the creativity of many of our professional artists here in Long Beach that do cultural and traditional dance and music, and we also provide opportunities for our young artists..."
Ms. Suarez continued: "All of this money that we put forth to our artists and to our professional and cultural workers can bring in a large amount of money to the City of Long Beach. So if I were to combine the money from the professional artists, the student artists and the community arts workshops that we do beforehand and that we show our work that evening, in the creative economy the Day of the Dead festival brings in $1.5 million to the City of Long Beach just through creativity, so we're really proud of that."
2nd district Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce then spoke in support, stating: "On a corridor like Pine, that it's not up to one organization or one business to try and make that area thrive and this is one of those examples where art really does add to our community and so the more that we can have these conversations around those numbers like you mentioned Griselda, that entertainment really does bring to our city, the more I think that we will continue embrace arts and entertainment which is something I know that we're all trying to do together, so congratulations."
Councilwoman Gonzalez closed by saying "We had about 8,000 people on the streets of Pine last year, hoping to increase that. This year we will have the event on Friday November 2...We have about three cool artists that will be there, music, entertainment for the children and we have about 300 jobs that were directly and indirectly created in 60 local business and community organizations that are included in this just in a two block radius along Pine..."
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