Heritage League presents Day of the Dead Festival


The Day of the Dead Festival to benefit the Old Tehachapi Cemetery is one of the most far reaching events the Heritage League has ever sponsored. Local dancers, crafts people, students and business owners will all come together to celebrate the lives of the earliest settlers in this area. The hard working pioneers that were mailmen, tavern keepers and black smiths are buried on a dusty acre in Golden Hills. The purpose of the benefit is to raise awareness and funds for the maintenance of the cemetery going forward and the community is coming together with that in mind. The response has been tremendous!

Two local dance groups will be participating in the Festival. Tehachapi Dance Theatre promises something especially dramatic involving masks, and Baila Folklorico will present four different traditional dances throughout the day. There is still room for local performers who want to share their skills as mimes, musicians or any other talents they may have.

With emphasis on the Day of the Dead and hand made crafts, local artists will be offering their wares and sharing their vision of what the festival means to them. Many people have already expressed interest in building altars at the site, either to remember a loved one who has passed, or to honor the tradition by temporarily adopting a grave for the day. Students from Tehachapi High School will also participate in the making of altars and will be reciting short, often satiric poems that celebrate the lives of the colorful characters buried there. Students will also be offering face painting for the patrons enjoyment. Vendors from Lancaster, Palmdale and Bakersfield have heard about the Festival and will be participating as well. Word is getting out!

Quite a few local businesses are donating services, products and gift cards for a silent auction that promises to be a special feature of the festival. The gift baskets are a favorite, as they can hold up to $300 in product and services for a lucky bidder.

The Heritage League will ask for a suggested donation of $5 a person for entry to the Festival, but as always, no one will be turned away. Their goal is to encourage new membership and to raise awareness of the museum and the cemetery. Items from the Museum gift shop will be on sale as well as copies of the spectacular Day of the Dead poster!

Two young dancers, Samuel and Jacky.

The festival will be held at the Old Tehachapi Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The address is 22000 Lilac St. in Golden Hills. There are still spaces available for sales and food vendors, as well as anyone interested in erecting an altar.

Volunteers will be needed to help set up and break down the day of the festival. Anyone interested in helping with this exciting event or for information about the festival please call the Tehachapi Heritage League at (661) 822-8152 or email Harry Rotz at harryrotz@gmail.com


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