Dia de los Muertos Street Festival in Downtown Corpus Christi

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Painted faces as skulls were everywhere.
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Colorful handmade arts and crafts vendors were abundant.
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Tons of music, dance, food, art, and fun

 

Source:  http://diadelosmuertoscc.com/

Background – Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos (DDLM) or the Day of the Dead is a traditional holiday in Mexico when deceased friends and family members are remembered and celebrated. It is a poignant time, both solemn and joyous, with colorful artistic traditions, pageantry, and whimsy despite the sobering subject. Dia de los Muertos is a joyful remembrance in which death is recognized as a natural part of the cycle of life.

In the arts, everyday life is represented in skeletal form. A common symbol of Dia de los Muertos is the skull or “calavera” often represented in masks, candy, and other curios. Traditional activities include making sugar skulls decorated with brightly colored icing, papel picaco (cut paper banners) and paper mache’ masks and figures.  Some people believe possessing Day of the Dead items, like tattoos, dolls, sugar skulls or jewelry, can bring good luck.

Souls of the deceased return to visit loved ones on the days of October 31-November 2.  In preparation for the reunion, families create altars to honor the deceased with ofrendas (offerings) of yellow marigolds, memorabilia, photos, favorite foods, beverages and trinkets of the departed.  Religious and spiritual symbols, like the Christian Cross and Virgin Mary often adorn altars, as well.

Because it is a national holiday in Mexico, schools and government offices close, and the streets are decorated.  People, young and old alike, participate in the festivities: parades, dancing in the town square, and processions to the cemetery.  At the cemetery, the spirits are honored with music, dancing, poetry and stories.  Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as people recall funny events and stories about the departed.  In some areas of Mexico, they picnic or even sleep at the gravesite.

This celebration has gone on for centuries in Mexico.  By presenting the Dia de los Muertos festival and educational programming, we are providing an opportunity for people to learn about this rich cultural tradition of Mexico, to create a connection to our past, and to honor and celebrate the deceased.

Our DDLM Festival assists with cultural tourism by drawing artists, vendors, musicians, and festival-goers to Corpus Christi and to the downtown area.  To enhance our DDLM programming, K Space Contemporary has added cultural art workshops during the month of October and a fine art exhibition. During November, a thematically associated exhibition will be displayed in the main gallery, including the Extravagancia de Piñatas, a contest and exhibition of piñatas constructed by area K-12 schools (groups/art classes/art clubs).  These student groups compete for cash awards for classroom supplies.

The 7th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival was held Saturday, November 1, 3 pm to midnight!  The festival is held in the 400-500 blocks of Starr and 500-700 blocks of Mesquite Streets in downtown Corpus Christi. Everyone is encouraged to wear a costume.  The event includes live music, Mariachis, Folklorico dancers, Hecho a Mano Art Expo, Kids’ Activities, community altar, food, drinks and more.  Texas A & M University Art Department’s “Hold Steady Iron Pouring Crew” will be on hand offering visitors a chance to create their own miniature iron sculpture while the Printmaking Department will be print customized t-shirts.  A community altar is located inside K Space Contemporary.

Many of  Corpus Christi’s favorite artists will be on hand selling their work and El Dia de los Muertos themed items.

The Hecho a Mano Art Expo features over 75 artists offering everything from jewelry to sculpture to all kinds of Dia de los Muertos related trinkets.  Those that are interested in being a vendor will find guidelines and registration information under “Vendor Information” on this website.

We are accepting sponsors and seeking volunteers.   Sponsorship information is available at http://www.diadelosmuertoscc.com.  Anyone interested in volunteering may call (361)887-6834.

Dia de los Muertos Street Festival is coordinated by the Electra Art*Axis Tattoo, K Space Contemporary, Corpus Christi Downtown Management District, and House of Rock. Proceeds from the event benefit K Space Contemporary, a 501 (C) 3 non-profit arts organization.

 

 P.S. I just had to buy 3 of Roel Palacio’s wonderful masks! They are just amazing!

September Skies

Keeping September is usually our rainy month, and has not let us down this year in the Coastal Bend. The skies have put on a show of their own. These were snapped with my phone, but you can see the cloud formations are really cool.

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Sculptural clouds form one morning over the Laguna Madre in Flour Bluff.
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Rain clouds billow like smoke over the Laguna Madre.
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Is there a pot of gold in downtown Corpus Christi?

Running the Beach to Bay

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Photo courtesy of http://www.beachtobayrelay.com

Lace up those Asics, it is time to run first and later play at the Beach to Bay Relay!

According to http://www.beachtobayrelay.com, “Since 1976, runners and fun-seekers have flocked to Corpus Christi, Texas to run the Beach to Bay Relay Marathon. To many runners, the annual event has become a tradition throughout the State of Texas.

Beach to Bay has grown to be the largest relay marathon in the United States. Attracting runners from all over the U.S. as well as Kenya, England and Mexico. Approximately 2,600 teams totaling over 16,000 runners compete each year.

The Beach to Bay Relay Marathon is a six-person relay running event that totals 26.2 miles of beach, pavement, a little sweat, an occasional tear and a bunch of smiles. Beginning on the sands of North Padre Island, winding through Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and ending at McCaughan Park along Corpus Christi’s scenic Shoreline Drive, the course is divided into six-legs of roughly 4.4 miles each.

Always held on the third Saturday in May, Armed Forces Day, B2B proudly honors the men and women serving in our United States Military. It’s a tradition founded by Captain John Butterfield back in 1976.”

After the runners complete their legs, most teams gather at McCaughan Park to cheer on their last leg runners and later celebrate a good run with a little beer and pizza. The B2B website proclaims, “Pain now; beer later.”

So, if you want a little fun while you run, the Beach to Bay Relay is the way.

Fish Lips Sink Ships: Adding to the Nearshore Reef Project

Fishing and diving playground planned 10 miles from Packery Channel and Port Aransas.

"This 155-freighter could become part of an artificial reef for fishing and diving offshore of Packery Channel if the Corpus Christi City Council agrees to pony up $100,000 toward the $500,000 effort." Photo courtesy of Caller.com
“This 155-freighter could become part of an artificial reef for fishing and diving offshore of Packery Channel if the Corpus Christi City Council agrees to pony up $100,000 toward the $500,000 effort.” Photo courtesy of Caller.com

Sometimes treasure can be found around sunken ships, only this treasure is of the marine-life paradise kind. As part of the Ships-to Reefs Project, these submerged ships and structures provide a foundational surface for marine life to attach. After a while, the surface builds up with coral and other marine life and the submerged ship or other structure provides shelter and a strong ecosystem for overfished reef fish species such as snapper and grouper. This project will help replenish some habitat that was destroyed when several offshore oil and gas platforms were removed in recent years. If the City of Corpus Christi agrees to foot $100,000 of the bill, the ship could be in place by the end of summer 2014.

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Artificial Reef Program
Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Artificial Reef Program

The reefs and marine life attract other forms of treasure, fishermen and divers. This ongoing, Near Shore Reefing project has had plenty of bang for both the local and the Texas economy since off shore and recreational fishing generates 2 billion per year for Texas.  The Coast Bend, namely, Port Aransas has been known as the “fishing capital of Texas.”  The Caller Times reported that according to Mike Hurst, who chairs the offshore committee, Saltwater Fisheries Enhancement Association (SEA),”This will be one of the best dive and fishing sites long the mid-Texas Coast. We have secured the ship and are in the final stages of permitting.”

This project is set to enhance the local ecosystem for both marine treasure and human treasure, So, fish lips really do sink ships. Who knew?

Sources: The Island Moon Newspaper; KIIITV.com; Corpus Christi Caller Times; Texas Parks and wildlife

 

 

Get your Springtime on!

Playing with the butterflies was a total hit with both the kids and adults!
Playing with the butterflies was a total hit with both the kids and adults!

It is Spring Break here in the Coastal Bend, and the beaches are packed with Spring Breakers. So since I was home with the kiddos this week, we did a few family friendly things away from the crazed throngs at the beaches.

Spring Break on North Padre Island, Texas. Photo courtesy of http://entertainment.caller.com
Spring Break on North Padre Island, Texas. Photo courtesy of http://entertainment.caller.com

The weather was gorgeous, and we wanted to be outdoors, but we did not want to go to Padre Island. My friend told me that she and her daughter and friends went to the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens. Good idea!

What better way to enjoy Spring's bounty, but to be among it.
What better way to enjoy Spring’s bounty, but to be in it.

I took the kids and they enjoyed the day and fresh air with the gorgeous flora and fauna. We spent several hours out there and had a fabulous time, and the kids had fun with a little learning mixed in! Best of all, it was family friendly fun!

The kids enjoyed the flowers, ladybugs, and butterflies.
The kids enjoyed the flowers, ladybugs, and butterflies.
The kids loved the variety of colorful birds at the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens.
The kids loved the variety of colorful birds at the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens.
Watching the wildlife at the wetlands area of the Botanical Gardens.
Watching the wildlife at the wetlands area of the Botanical Gardens.
The colors of Spring were abundant.
The colors of Spring were vibrant and abundant.

Mardi Gras Celebrated Island Style?

Mardi Gras—

Most people think of beads, bare chests, and booze.

On Padre Island, they do Mardi Gras— barefoot.

All photos by Miles Merwin. The Island Moon Newspaper.
All photos by Miles Merwin. The Island Moon Newspaper.

According to http://barefootmardigras.com/,”Barefoot Mardi Gras offers a Texas style carnival atmosphere right on the beautiful beaches of Corpus Christi. Catch some beads and rays while advocating for youth!”

The 5th annual Barefoot Mardi Gras Parade and Party was this past weekend on North Padre Island. The event benefits Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization. The parade started at noon on beach down from Bob Hall Pier at Padre Balli Park.

So if you are around the Coastal Bend this time of year, you might want to check out this islander twist on Mardi Gras. If you want beads, beautiful beaches, and bare feet,  this could be the Mardi Gras for you.

All photos by Miles Merwin. Island Moon Newpaper
All photos by Miles Merwin. The Island Moon Newpaper

Spring Break Already?

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Spring Break on North Padre Island, Texas. Photo courtesy of http://entertainment.caller.com

Wow…we had just been talking about cold, stunned turtles and polar vortex weather roller coasters… Now Spring Break in just around the corner. The first weekend will be March 7-8 with the busiest weekend on the 14-15th. However, today, the temp. dropped again. Spring is just a teasing us…

With all of this cold crazy weather this winter, there will be plenty of hormone-filled, Spring- feverish breakers coming to our little strip of sand here in South Texas. We here in the Coastal Bend have noticed that the traffic has been steadily increasing over the years here, but get ready for more.

So, if you want a quiet time here at the beach, well, it may not be happening for the mid-part of March. However, you will probably have a quieter time over at Padre Island National Seashore or maybe even at Rockport. The Port Aransas Beaches and many of the beaches on North Padre and definitely South Padre Islands will be busy. But just like March, it roars in like a lion, and leaves like a lamb.