All Souls events celebrate passed loved ones | All Souls Procession
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All Souls Procession

All Souls events celebrate passed loved ones

"Put it on wheels, strap it to your back, wear it, put lights in it, walk or ride it" - all fitting ways to honor loved ones who have passed, All Souls Procession organizers said.

The All Souls Procession Weekend in downtown Tucson brings together those who wish to publicly mourn the loss and celebrate the lives of the deceased.

Saturday is are geared toward kids and features the Procession of Little Angels, a family-friendly walk that acknowledges deceased loved ones from the perspective of the child.

Sunday events include the All Souls Procession, a human-powered experience also honoring the dead that's now in its 22nd year. Participants are invited to bring whatever spirit they wish to create.

Organizers estimate more than 20,000 people will take part in Sunday's two-mile walk, Grand Finale and Dance of the Dead.

The procession will begin at the corner of 4th Avenue and University Boulevard, with participants gathering between 5 and 6 p.m.

The procession will move south down 4th Avenue beginning at 6, proceeding west on Congress Street to Mercado San Agustin, west of Interstate 10.

After the procession, offerings and wishes of participants for those who have passed will be burned in a large urn.

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Performers include Flam Chen, the Community Spirit Group, this year's musical guest Roskruge Mariachi! Odaiko Sonora, Batucaxe, Tucson Puppet Works and others.

Calexico: Dance of the Dead will be at The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., to benefit procession organizers Many Mouths One Stomach, a non-profit arts collective based here.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 8. Admission is $20 general in advance and $22 Sunday. The floor is general admission - standing room only. Reserve balcony seating is $32 in advance and $35 day of show. (Add $6 each for venue fees) . Tickets are available online or by calling 520-740-1000.

The All Souls Procession events serve as "a vehicle for working artists to collaborate, create, and inspire the public through Festal Culture," organizers said.

Sculptural installations by Mykl Wells, Joe O'Connell, Richard Wizardry, Carlos Noggle, SORIAH, Tucson Arts Brigade, A zburner CHURCH and Mourning Fyre will be included.

Saturday's events for children will be at Armory Park on Sixth Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets.

The schedule includes:

  • Noon: Altar and site construction
  • 3p.m.: Workshops begin for wing-making, face-painting, sugar skull decorating, hooping with Orbital Evolution, and circus skills with Tucson Circus Arts
  • 3-10 p.m. Altars Vigil
  • 6 p.m.: Children's parade and finale with Stories That Soar
  • 7:30 p.m.: Soul Poetry-spoken word event
  • 8-11 p.m.: Spoken word soul poetry

Children can participate in their own procession around the downtown public square to the finale stage area, where artists present a live performance-spectacle.

According to, the public is invited to bring photos and drawings of their children's deceased loved ones: pets, family and friends. They will be scanned on site and projected large on the library wall. Bring a candle in a container to illuminate the children's procession as the sun sets.

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What, where & when

Procession of Little Angels

  • Armory Park, downtown
  • Saturday, noon—11 p.m.
  • Free

"Flor de Muertos"

  • The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress
  • Saturday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m.
  • Tickets: $10

2011 All Souls Procession

  • 4th Avenue & University
  • Sunday, Nov. 6, beginning 5-6 p.m.
  • Route: South on 4th Avenue, West on Congress Street to Mercado San Agustin
  • Free

Calexico: Dance of the Dead

  • Sunday, 8 p.m.
  • Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.
  • Tickets: $20-35, plus fees.

All Souls Procession memories

Longtime Tucsonan Randy Harris recalls a few earlier processions.

 I happened on one of the early processionals and wondered what the heck it was? An  art parade? It was only about three blocks long and I'd never seen anything like it.

Another year, I followed it to Mat Bevel's studio. Flam Chen was twirling fire in the parking lot. Everyone from the processional and more were able to squeeze inside to party.

 Three years ago, I walked in it and shot video for the Tucson Citizen. Then two years ago, the Citizen had been killed off and I walked and mourned with many of my former colleagues.

Randy Harris is the "Photoshop Guru" at J Randall Harris Design.

All Souls Procession guide

DO: Come and enjoy the experience in a way that works for you. Dress up, get out of your regular regiment and persona; make a mask, a puppet, an art installation, an altar; some way of honoring those who have gone before, who we remember, honor, release, and embrace. Allow yourself to flow into an experience of real community, where we interact in ways that are different, authentic to our nature, and open to our feelings.

DON’T: Be high, drunk, or in anyone’s space in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. This event should be safe to bring a newborn infant to, or your dear aging grandmother. What allows the magic to happen is for everyone to feel safe. It is your job to create this kind of space. The moment we require help from police or any other authority to make sure that happens, we have lost something truly precious. Please make sure to honor barricades, civilian security and civic event staff at grand finale and take care for yourself and your fellow participants in stepping off of curbs, crossing streets, train tracks and trolley tracks etc.