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Catrina Ball, a cultural event with a bigger impact

Participants of the ball are encouraged to emulate their take on Catrina and Catrina skull makeup and attire.

To celebrate Día de los Muertos, the Firehouse Art Center is hosting a Catrina Ball on Friday.

The party’s festivities will ring in the holiday weekend while raising funding for an art program benefiting youth in the Casa de la Esperanza residential community.

The Catrina Ball transforms the former Breakers Grill at 380 Main St. into a colorful dance floor. Though it's an annual event for the Firehouse, this year marks its return since its 7th Catrina Ball in 2019.

The event pays homage to one of the Día de los Muertos icons, La Catrina, which is inspired by a zinc etching of Calavera Catrina by the Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada. Participants of the ball are encouraged to emulate their take on Catrina and Catrina skull makeup and attire. There will be face painting on site for those who didn’t apply their makeup beforehand.

During the celebration from 7 to 10 p.m., there will be a Catrina Contest, Gigante selfies, performances from the Nahucalli Mexican Folkloric Dance Troupe, and dancing to the live music of the SVVSD Combined Mariachi Band and Los Cheesies.

“It is a spectacular celebration, with visual beauty, wonderful music and fun.  But the performances are not only visually striking, they are also educational, with Nahucalli starting off their performance with a reading on the tradition of Dia de los Muertos,” said Firehouse Executive Director Elaine Waterman in an email. “Also, the St.Vrain Combined Mariachi Group is continuing the tradition of Mariachi music in our schools.”

Ticket sales — $15 ahead of time, and $20 at the door — benefit the Firehouse’s Art Attack program. The program is instructed by a local bilingual art instructor, Joyanna Gittings of the Obra Arts Studio and Salón. Art Attack provides free art education outside of the classroom for children living at the Casa de la Esperanza, a housing community and learning center dedicated to supporting Longmont agricultural workers and their families.

According to Waterman, the Firehouse’s insurance fees saw an approximate $1,500 increase due to County requirements. To continue Art Attack and ensure its longevity, the proceeds from the Catrina Ball are dedicated to the program.

In addition to ticket sales, the Firehouse plans on raising money through an online auction. Bids can be made on Catrina-inspired paintings submitted by local artists. 

“Since we are working with young children, we need to make sure we follow these [insurance] regulations. If we don't raise the funds we won't be able to continue the program,” Waterman said. “This program is a bilingual Spanish/English program, so we thought that everyone attending the Catrina Ball would be a wonderful audience to ask, since their attendance signifies a love of the cultural traditions surrounding Dia de los Muertos. What better way to show you truly support the Latino community, than to put your money where your mouth is and donate a few extra dollars to support a program that benefits that community?”


Ali Mai

About the Author: Ali Mai

Ali Mai is freelance writer and photographer, covering business for the Longmont Leader. She writes the weekly column "Longmont Local."
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