The Coaster

by the Coaster Editorial Staff

In the summer of 2022, Asbury Park business owner Christopher Gonzalez had an idea. He wanted to bring a Dia de los Muertos celebration to the Asbury Park boardwalk.

Traditional Dia de Los Muertos events are held every year in the first week of November. Gonzalez set out to City Hall and secured a permit. Unfortunately construction on the boardwalk was planned and there was no guarantee that the boardwalk would be ready in time.

Undeterred, he came to the conclusion that this Celebration of Life event would have to be postponed until 2023. He reached out to part-time Asbury Park residents and creatives, Danny Driscoll and Ed Chiquitucto, to see if they would be interested in co-producing this event.

Coincidentally, Driscoll was approached by other local business owners, Stephanie Cañas Hunnell and her husband Rich, who mentioned her idea to host a Dia de los Muertos celebration, and the committee was born.

And now, the Dia de los Muertos celebration is scheduled to come to life on Sat., Nov. 4 on the Asbury Park boardwalk.

This free, family and pet-friendly event is planned for 4 to 7 p.m. rain or shine. The committee has been planning, obtaining a permit and securing sponsorships for this event. This Dia de los Muertos celebration is on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.

For those unfamiliar with Dia de Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead it is a traditional Latin holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives and friends for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration.

This event will feature a lively procession from Convention Hall to the old Casino, with an authentic Mariachi band. They invite all participants to join in the procession, bring photos of loved ones and bring offerings to the ofrenda, a traditional altar to honor the deceased.

Participants are welcome to come in traditional attire or just as you are. There will also be professional make-up artists on-site beginning at 2 p.m. outside Convention Hall. The organizers are asking people to join them at 4 p.m. as they plan to begin the procession about 4:30 pm. The procession will march down the boardwalk to the Carousel. There will also be tee shirts for sale, and a Sugar Skull cookie vendor.