Let Mountain Transit take you to Dia de Los Muertos festivities

Staff Writer-Alpine Mountaineer

Mountain Transit can get you there, on or off the mountain. The buses from either Running Springs on Route 5 or Crestline on Route 6 go to the San Bernardino Transit Center, the Greyhound Bus Station and the Metrolink and Amtrak Station. Being able to make those connections enables mountain residents to get almost anywhere in Southern California.
Jennifer is going to Olvera Street in Los Angeles for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration this weekend. She is very excited, since she’s been studying about the festivities and the meanings behind them, which intrigue her.

On Olvera Street, the nightly parades began last Friday and continue through Nov. 3. There is daily entertainment before the nightly procession and the Las Ofrendas has created beautiful community altars. Jennifer has been learning about Las Ofrendas by talking with local shop owner Gary Lopez of The Treasure Box & Company in Crestline.

Lopez, who has offered several Sundays of crafts and altar design, is creating Ofrendas at his shop. Jennifer hopes to create one to honor the spirit of her recently departed father in a meaningful way on the Treasure Box’s front patio on Nov. 2. Jennifer has learned the importance and details of this celebration from Lopez over the last month. She knows her father will be proud of her Ofrenda altar. But Jennifer plans to first visit the full-blown event at Olvera Street this week with friends.

Jennifer and her friends are trying to decide which day they want to attend, as each day has different hourly entertainment. There will be a variety of mariachi bands, several styles of ballet folklorico groups and shows by Aztec and Mayan dancers, which especially interests Jennifer’s longtime friend from Rim High, Marsha.

Marsha loves many varieties of dance, including cultural folk dancing, after taking many years of dance lessons, including ballet, which led to her dancing in The Nutcracker for several years. Plus, Marsha took tap and modern dance lessons, all at the Lake Arrowhead School of Dance. While growing up, it was a yearly tradition to dance in the “Thriller” performances at Lake Arrowhead Village during the Halloween shows.
Jennifer is excited and plans to get herself a full-face painting for the event to make her into a Calavera (a colorful human skull). There will be many face painting booths there, and the meanings behind the various face designs fascinate her.

The Dia de los Muertos is a special celebration, an honoring of the lives of those loved ones who have passed, by celebrating the many things they enjoyed during their lives. Death is honored during these festivities in a positive way.

Jennifer went to Olvera Street last summer on a vacation day with friends and they had a great time. She’s always liked Olvera Street since she went there on a field trip as a fourth-grader while studying California’s history. Jennifer and friends took Mountain Transit and the train last time so they wouldn’t need to fight the scary Los Angeles traffic.

“Those cars zipped around me while I was confused with the one-way and bus-filled streets, last time I drove into downtown Los Angeles,” said Jennifer. “That drive was not a pleasant experience and I prefer to never repeat it,” Jennifer said.

She found riding the train with her friends to downtown Los Angeles was easy. The train goes directly from San Bernardino to beautiful Union Station, which is just across the street from Olvera Street in Los Angeles. “We partied all the way there in the club car, and I arrived relaxed and in a good mood, instead of frazzled as I did when I drove into Los Angeles. And, I won’t have to worry about driving home after drinking.”

After Marsha heard of Jennifer’s summer excursion to Olvera Street, she asked to join in the fun next time. When Marsha learned about all the dancing and music of the Dia de los Muertos festivities, she knew she definitely wanted to go, although she doubts she will get her face painted.
Log onto www.MountainTransit.org for schedules and prices. Mountain Transit can get you there safely.