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Day of the Dead at Green Lawn Cemetery celebrates ancestors, food, art

Mitch Hooper

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What do you think of when someone mentions Halloween? Here in the states, it typically means haunted houses, costumed parties, scary movies, and of course, pumpkin spice everything. It’s a chance to explore horror, a time to be silly (or sexy), and above all, it’s a small break from reality. But not all things October are escapist or ghoulish, Día de los Muertos—Day of the Dead for those who failed Spanish 101—is a cultural celebration that dates back to the Aztecs.

The original Day of the Dead celebrations took place in the beginning of summer, and eventually moved to coincide with All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. Families and friends would prepare a picnic to eat at the graves of their loved ones as they shared memories to keep the spirits of those now gone alive. The mood was celebratory, stemming from cultural beliefs that the dead would not approve of mourning.

This celebration is something Leticia Vazquez-Smith, president of Latino Arts for Humanity in Columbus, holds close to her heart, as she grew up in Mexico City. Those memories stuck with her when she moved to Ohio in 1999 and became the basis for how she began celebrating here in the States. It started in her apartment where she was asked to give a presentation on something she loved. Naturally, she picked Day of the Dead. With a full heart, she did things such as making traditional dishes like tamales for the community members looking to stop by.

“I wanted to share the roots of the real thing,” Vazquez- Smith explained.

But, that was 20 years ago. Now, the crowd is too large for her home and she and Latino Arts for Humanity have partnered with Green Lawn Cemetery for a Day of the Dead celebration with authentic Mexican food, calaveritas (sugar skulls) poem readings, and music, and dancing from Latino community members in Columbus.

What started as a passion has blossomed into a citywide event where more than 2,000 people will show up, pay respects, and experience a cultural happening that might be difficult to find in a state more than 2,000 miles away from its origin.

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The Columbus Day of the Dead celebration will be on Oct. 19, and will include traditional food trucks, music and dancers, art vendors, and educational courses for children. Each year’s celebration offers a new theme for visitors, and this year will focus on the ocean. In keeping with the celebration of life, the entire day has been “greened”—from vendors avoiding single-use plastic items to educational conversations about pollution.

Vazquez-Smith said in the years past, the event had been held out of almost anywhere they could find, such as galleries in the Short North or warehouses around town. But once she and her team discovered Green Lawn Cemetery hosted outdoor movie screenings, an idea was planted. They wondered if the cemetery would be interested in hosting a Day of the Dead celebration and Green Lawn happily obliged.

“When Green Lawn was founded, it was meant to be in-part green space for the city; in-part a place where people could come out, walk the trails, and have picnics. It was meant to be more than a place to bury your dad, but also come out and celebrate and remember their ancestors,” said Randy Rogers, president of the Green Lawn Cemetery Association.

This idea of celebrating ancestors, having picnics, and all the steps in between parallels nicely with Day of the Dead. And for Rogers, inclusivity is something he finds very important as Green Lawn Cemetery is a space that has grown with the community around it. Green Lawn is without many regulations for burial sites and markers, which allows different groups to express their cultural beliefs, even in death. A partnership with Latino Arts for Humanity for a Day of the Dead celebration seemed to be the perfect expression of that philosophy.

“I always equate it with the writings of Dante, Dante’s epic poem, ‘La Vita Nuova.’ He’s writing about his new life after the death of his love,” Rogers explained. “As he tells that story, he also talks about her new life in the afterlife and that carries through as he encounters her again in The Inferno. And that’s kind of like Day of the Dead because you’re celebrating the lives of your ancestors after they passed— you’re celebrating their new life in the afterlife.”

This theme of inclusivity runs deeper. Vazquez-Smith said this year she expects a wide variety of cultures to attend ranging from African-American communities to Midwesterners who grew up right here their entire lives. For the Mexico City native, this is exactly what she had hoped for.

“Day of the Dead shouldn’t be an only Mexican tradition. We’re all going to die, that’s a fact. If you have time to do a little grieving, sharing your food with your family, it’s something the society here doesn’t have. They don’t have that day to be free to talk to the people who are not here body wise,” Vazquez-Smith said. “Everything is about the thought of living and dying. Any kind of culture that wants to come and do something with us, they are welcome. It’s for everybody.”

Green Lawn Cemetery is located on 1000 Green Lawn Avenue. The Day of the Dead event will take place on Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

millennial | writer | human

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Things To Do

Nina West to star in brand new show at Southern Theatre

Regina Fox

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Nina West stole the hearts of Columbus years ago with her dynamic acting, sensational singing, contagious charism, and devotion to her community. She then swept the nation with her performance on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11, where she placed sixth and won Miss Congeniality. After that, Nina made history by becoming the first ever person to walk the Emmy Awards carpet in full drag.

Now, Nina is returning home to grace her city with another first.

Opera Columbus will roll out the red carpet at Southern Theatre on June 13, 2020 for Opera Columbus presents Nina West, featuring a brand new show where drag meets opera. 

Opera Columbus season subscribers have the first opportunity to purchase tickets via an offer code, beginning Monday, November 11 at 12 pm. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on November 25 at 12 pm.

Opera Columbus is also excited to offer a mini-season subscription for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, which include tickets to The Barber of Seville and The Poppea Project for those wishing to have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to Opera Columbus presents Nina West. To purchase your mini-subscription, please contact the CAPA Ticket Office at 614-469-0939 or visit 39 E State St.

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Powell

‘Burb Breakdown: Shop, dine, and experience Powell

614now Staff

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Covering many vibrant communities across central Ohio, the 614 is so much more than just Columbus. Welcome to the ‘Burb Breakdown, an ongoing series highlighting the unique character of neighborhoods from across this sprawling metro area we call home. Today, we take a look at the unique shopping and dining experiences you'll find in Powell.

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, Powell is a one-stop destination for all of your gift-getting and dining needs. When you're done hitting the shops, why not treat yourself? Powell has no shortage of fun experiences to explore—here a just a few ideas to get you started.

Shop. Dine. Experience Powell. from City of Powell on Vimeo.

Shop

Downtown Powell is lined with charming boutiques and retail stores, featuring unique gift ideas, clothing, jewelry, art, and more.

Kick off the holiday shopping season with a night out in downtown Powell at the Sip and Shop from 5pm -8pm on Thursday, Nov. 21. Shop local and enter to win raffle prizes while enjoying snacks and/or beverages at participating businesses.

Dine

The restaurant and bar scene is alive and thriving in Powell. With more than 20 eateries near or in the downtown area, you can try anything from farm-to-table, Italian, Polynesian or even dessert only—more on that below.

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Experience

Once you've already enjoyed a nice, full day on the town in Powell, why not stick around for some nightlife? Plan your next night out in downtown Powell and discover your new favorite spot.

Dinner & Drinks

Whether its a draft at Ill Mannered Brewing Co., a bottle from the Village Winery, or a nice glass of bourbon at Liberty Tavern, Powell has plenty of quality watering holes to kick your night off in style. From there, take your pick from the city's signature eateries such as Local Roots or the Prohibition Gastro Lounge for an unforgettable night of dining. Room for dessert? Look no further than Mrs. Turbo's Cookies, or central Ohio favorite Jeni's Splendid Ice cream.

For the cherry on top, finish off your night with some tunes. Powell's own Nocterra Brewing Co. and Local Roots are just a couple of places where live music can be found on the regular.

Cooking Classes

For a less conventional night out, consider booking a cooking class at Savoir Cooking + Wine. Svaoir provides hands on cooking classes for skill levels from novice to advanced, as well as wine tastings, and private events. Classes cover a wide range of topics including regional cuisine and technique based workshops, with upcoming classes including the Holiday Champagne Brunch, Winter 2019 Kids Camp, Wine Bar Dinner: Taco Tuesday, Winter Brunch, Risotto Workshop and more.

Board & Brush

Is your inner DIY itching for a fun new project without having to purchase all of your own supplies and make a mess at your house? Book a workshop at Board & Brush Creative Studio in downtown Powell.

Also, be sure to check out Pinot’s Palette – coming Soon to 170 West Olentangy Street.

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Things To Do

You won’t want to miss North Market’s holiday extravaganza

Regina Fox

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"Let's see, we've got a munkle for your uncle, a fant for your aunt and a fandpa for your Cousin Leon." If you're like Lou Lou Who and get overwhelmed by the pressures of holiday shopping, heed the latest announcement from North Market.

On Saturday, December 7, North Market will transform into a winter wonderland of shopping, activities, and other holiday festivities! Peruse farmers, merchants, and makers to find that special gift for everyone on your list. Fuel up at one of the North Market's many eclectic food vendors (who will have extended hours until 7pm for the occasion) before taking the kids over to meet the man with the bag.

There's plenty to do at Holiday Market. See below for vendor and activity information:

Outdoor Vendors:

  • Seibel Tree Farm will be on site selling Christmas trees & holiday decor (while supplies last).
  • Thomas Family Orchard will bring seasonal apples & fresh apple cider.
  • Shady Grove Farms will feature locally grown produce, homemade jams and hand-poured candles & gifts.
  • Cason Pies will sell fresh baked pies, cookies & quick breads.
  • Coco Cat Bakery & Chocolates will offer their delicious Christmas cookies & hot chocolate.
  • The Sweater Lady has lovely handmade sweaters, jewelry & gifts.
  • Two Black Sheep features handmade cutting boards & beautiful woodworked gifts.
  • Emily Ann's Aprons sells handmade aprons & gifts.
  • Brewberry Wicks will have their handmade candles & gifts.
  • North Market will be selling North Market merchandise & gift certificates. Holiday Special = Purchase $50 in North Market Gift Certificates and receive one free North Market Cookbook!!!!!

Entertainment & Activities:

  • Santa Claus – Free for the kiddos to visit and say hello! Santa will be strolling throughout the Market
  • Holiday music
  • Kids’ craft & activities
  • Hot Mulled Wine will be available for purchase
  • Enter to win $10K in doors and windows for your home from Renewal by Andersen!
  • and more!

Holiday Market is taking place Saturday, December 7 from 8am- 1pm. It is a rain or shine event. Admission is free. For more information, check out the Event Website and/or Facebook event page.

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