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In-person 18th Annual Celebraciones de la Gente returns to the Museum of Northern Arizona

FLAGSTAFF — Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces celebrates the in-person return of Día de los Muertos / Day of the Dead when the 18th Annual Celebraciones de la Gente is presented at the Museum of Northern Arizona on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23 and 24.

Celebrate the history and culture of Mexican, Mexican American and Latin@ communities in Northern Arizona at this annual fall event, which will include music, dance, food and heartfelt remembrances.

In partnership with Flagstaff’s Nuestras Raíces, the museum’s Jaime Golightly Courtyard will be transformed into a beautiful lit setting, with intricately cut papel picado (pierced paper) and lovely arrange ofrendas (altars) to welcome past loved ones to the party.

On Saturday evening the courtyard will stay open into the night, as the full impact of the candlelit ofrendas can be enjoyed, along with Mexican treats and soulful strolling Mariachis. Don’t miss this fall festival. Invite your friends and family, from this world and the next!

Some of the scheduled events each day include sugar skull-making workshops, “Ofrenda 101” creating an altar workshops, performances by Ballet Folkorico de Colores — Flagstaff and Mariachi performers from Tucson.

The Courtyard After Dark event on Oct. 23 will include a candlelit ceremony honoring the memory of those who have lost their lives during the pandemic presented by members of Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces, with opening remarks by Museum of Northern Arizona Executive Director Mary Kershaw.

Celebraciones will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, concluding with the traditional blessing of the altars/offrendas closing ceremony.

The event will be held at:

Museum of Northern Arizona

3101 N Fort Valley Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

General Admission:         $20

Native American:             $10

Child under 9:                    Free

Flagstaff nuestras raíces presents the return of the ‘FLAGSTAFF SUMMERTIME TARDEADA

Join us in celebrating Culture and Community Bring your camp chairs. Canopies welcomed!!!

Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021 Noon to 7 p.m.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 224 South Kendrick St., Flagstaff


  • The entertainment stage will feature Mariachi Herencia de Cuco Del Cid from Tucson, Ballet Folklorico de Colores – Flagstaff and dance music to conclude the celebration from Nueva Vibra from Tucson
  • Veterans Recognition
  • Mexican and BBQ Food, Raffles, Cumbia, Dancing, More!
  • Also, Mariachi Mass, 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 22 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church

Visit or email 2021president@flagstaffnuestrasraices or for more information

Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces celebrating Día de los Muertos with a variety of virtual events

While we can’t enjoy a traditional Celebraciones de la Gente, members of Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces have been busy with a number of virtual Día de los Muertos projects.

Members visited the Museum of Northern Arizona on Oct. 7 to live stream and set up the community altar during the presentation “Day of the Dead Decoded: Ofrendas 101.”

Click here or visit to see by presentation by Nuestras President Lydia Anaya and Treasurer Becca DeLap providing viewers the basics of setting up their own altars/ofrendas at home.

See photos below:

Celebraciones de la Gente postponed until 2021

Celebraciones de la Gente festival goers had a chance to visit the “Courtyard After Dark” event on Oct. 24, 2019. Photo by Frank X. Moraga / ©2019 AmigosNAZ

FLAGSTAFF — The 17th Annual Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona has been postponed until 2021. Originally scheduled for Oct. 24-25, 2020, the Day of the Dead festival was rescheduled for the health and safety of all of our artists, visitors and staff.

Rooted in community, this weekend-long event has been presented at the museum in partnership with Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces. It features fine art and unique crafts, music and dancing, colorful and elaborate ofrendas (altars), insightful heritage programs and Day of the Dead inspired crafts for the kids.

Members of Nuestras Raices are currently working on virtual Celebraciones de la Gente programming for this year. Details to come shortly.

Other museum heritage festivals that will be rescheduled until next year include the annual the Navajo Festival, the Hopi Festival and the Zuni Festival. A Fall Heritage originally scheduled for this year has also been postponed until next year. Click here for the latest information on the museum’s heritage programs.

One of the nearly two dozen altars/ofrendas that greeted visitors at the 2019 Celebraciones de la Gente festival. Photo by Frank X. Moraga / ©2019 AmigosNAZ

See below for links to photos/stories from previous Celebraciones activities:

Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces wins big at CCC’s virtual 2020 4th of July Parade

FNR Parade Winner-01
Winning Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces entry. ©2020 Photos by

FLAGSTAFFFlagstaff Nuestras Raíces joined other major nonprofits such the United Way of Northern Arizona, The Literacy Center and the Flagstaff Community Band to secure 1st place in the non-profit category at Cococnino Community College’s virtual 2020 4th of July Parade.

“Thank you again for your participation in the first ever Shoebox Fourth of July Parade.  As of right now, the video for the parade (with nearly 60 entries) has been viewed almost 1,500 times,” said April Sandoval, assistant to the CCC president.  “We are so appreciative for the many community partners across the county that took the time to make a float.  You all made the parade something really special, and we were astounded by your creativity and community spirit.  The parade is on our YouTube channel and can be viewed at

The Nuestras Raíces float can be seen around the 5:30 minute mark of the video.

“Our District Governing Board members reviewed each float and judged them based on creativity, spirit, and presentation,” Sandoval said. “It was a close call in many categories and you’ll see a few ties in the results.  The winners were:

Grand Prize/Best in Show: Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library

1st Place for Each Category:

  • Business – Ken’s Tours
  • Coconino Community College – three-way tie
    • Admissions and High School Programs
    • Small Business Development Center
    • PR/Marketing and Foundation
  • Education – two-way tie
    • Flagstaff Unified School District
    • Lowell Observatory
  • Family
    • The Lowe Family
  • Nonprofit – four-way tie
    • Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces
    • Flagstaff Community Band
    • The Literacy Center
    • United Way of Northern Arizona

The judging was so close in a number of categories so we also decided to recognize a few Honorable Mentions.

  • Roberts Accounting
  • Kinney Construction Services, Inc.
  • Alpine Academy Preschool
  • Neighbors – Crafting Sisters
  • The Hall Family
  • Family and Friends of Patrice: Carter Sisters and Lulu

FNR Parade Winner-02

2020 NR Parade-01

2020 NR Parade-002

2020 NR Parade-03

2020 NR Parade-04

Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces presents annual Sugar Skull Workshop at Banderas Craft Tacos in downtown Flagstaff on Oct. 4, 2019

FLAGSTAFF — Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces will present its annual Sugar Skull-making workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at Banderas Craft Tacos, 11 E. Aspen Ave., downtown Flagstaff.

Come learn the secrets of turning water and sugar into skulls for upcoming Día de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead celebrations.

Class led by Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces, presenters of the annual Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona (Oct. 26-27).

$10 for a completed sugar skull and decorating supplies. Bring your own beverage. Snacks provided.

Visit or send an email to or for more information.

Remembering Christina Anaya

FLAGSTAFF — Members of Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces and the wider community of Flagstaff were sadden this week to hear of the passing of Christina Anaya, a life-long community advocate in the region.

Christina was serving as president of Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces and presided over the planning of the 2017 Flagstaff Summertime Tardeada, the group’s participation of the 2017 Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona and the 2017 Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration.

She was a volunteer for a number of community groups and organizations, including the Flagstaff Police Department, a member of Sociedades Guadalupanas at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff.

“It is with great sadness today (May 15) the Flagstasff Police Department learned they lost a friend and family member. Ms. Christina Anaya,” the department stated on its Facebook site. “Christina volunteered her time at the PD for more than 12 years. She has worked in Records, National Night Out and other community events and assigned to the Detective section going through pawn slips! Her smile and fun attitude will surely be missed. Thank you for your service and commitment to our community. We are all lucky to know you.”

Christina received the 2015 Big Award, one of three volunteers from Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Flagstaff recognized for their work with the organization, according to an article in the Arizona Daily Sun.

She will be missed by all who have known her.

Rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, May 20 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 224 S. Kendrick St., Flagstaff. Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 21 at San Francisco de Asis Catholic Church, 1600 E. Route 66, Flagstaff. The burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery, and please join us for a reception at San Francisco parish center, 12:30 PM.

See the Arizona Daily Sun story of May 18 for more information.

Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces remembers veteran, Hispanic pioneer Tomas Vega

2017 Tardeada — Tomas Vega
Tomas H. Vega, front row far right, stands at attention while being honored with other veterans during the 2017 Flagstaff Summertime Tardeada.
Tomas Vega
Tomas H. Vega during World War II.

FLAGSTAFF — Members of Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces would like to remember the contributions of Tomas H. Vega, a Flagstaff native, who passed away on March 14 at the age of 96. Mr. Vega was a regular at many of the group’s functions, including the annual Summertime Tardeada at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and the annual Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona.

He was a part of America’s “Greatest Generation,” landing on Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion in June 1944.

He will be honored, along with other Hispanic veterans, during the 2018 Armed Forces Day Parade in downtown Flagstaff.

For more on his remarkable life, please visit the Arizona Daily Sun story HERE.