More than 200 people came out to the Chamberlain and Santa Gertrudis Cemeteries to celebrate and honor lost loved ones during Turcotte-Piper Mortuary’s Dia de los Muertos event on Saturday.

“For our first year, it went really well,” funeral director and event chair Mari Moreno said. “Everybody had fun.”

Moreno said Turcotte-Piper Mortuary saw an interest from the Kingsville community to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. She said they worked in conjunction with the cemeteries to host an event that “brings awareness to the celebration in a fun event.”

“Death isn’t always grief and sadness,” Moreno said. “It also about celebrating and honoring our loved ones.”

Saturday’s event included performances from the Folklorico dancers and the H.M. King High School Mariachi band. There was also a community altar created by Texas A&M University-Kingsville art students featuring submitted photos of deceased friends and family.

“There was a lot of involvement from our community, which is what we wanted,” Moreno said. “And we also encouraged people who had loved ones buried at (the cemeteries) to make offrendas or altars at their graves.”

The event also featured a prayer service led by Father Joseph Lopez from St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church in Kingsville.

“And he and other priests went out to the individual graves of families that were there and did blessings,” Moreno said.

Moreno said they have already received feedback for next year’s event.

“And I’ve received phone calls from people that are hoping it becomes a traditional event here in Kingsville,” she said.

In addition to the events at the cemetery, Jaime Garza and the Kingsville Boxing Club hosted altars, entertainment, food and a loteria at the location of the former El Jardin Restaurant.

For the fourth year, the owners of the Salazar Building on Richard Street also hosted a Dia De Los Muertos event. That event was held downtown and featured a variety of altars in honor of loved ones.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

Gloria Bigger-Cantu contributed to this report.

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