Day of the Dead 5K and festival brings community together to remember lost loved ones

NOW: Day of the Dead 5K and festival brings community together to remember lost loved ones

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Community members gathered at the grounds of Forest Home Cemetery and Arboretum for the Día de Los Muertos Festival and 5K in Milwaukee Saturday, Oct. 30.

The event was about celebrating and learning about the traditions of the Day of the Dead.

The holiday, celebrated in Mexico and other Latin American countries honors and remembers lost loved ones in a respectful and honorable way.,

"I am Mexican so I feel very in tune and kind of in sync more with the Day of the Dead than Halloween. That's just kind of how I always felt and so this festival to me is really important to just be a part of the community and just enjoy the celebration of the ones that have passed," said Jennifer Wallner, a participant of the 5K.

The Day of the Dead festival and 5K had quite the crowd dressed in Halloween costumes, Day of the Dead attire, face painting, and more, as people and even furry pets ran or walked throughout the cemetery.

"It's really great. It kind of took a couple of minutes just to look around and remember that all these lives have been lost and they all have loved ones and we're here celebrating them and it's such a beautiful day and the colors were out so it was really great," said Wallner.

"So far so good. I thought it would be weird running through a cemetery and then I didn't think it would be so many people here post Covid but a lot of people came out," said Eric Moore, a participant of the 5K.

Participants were greeted at the finish line with mariachi's and from there took advantage of the festival filled with tasty food and other local vendors.

"The cemetery is the appropriate place to host something like this that's traditionally where it's held. It's a remembering of someone who has died," said Sara Tomilin, an assistant executive director of Forest Home Cemetery.

Different local schools and community organizations like LUNA, a Latino arts business, created several ofrendas inside the Forest Home chapel.

There was a community ofrenda for people to bring offerings and write notes to loved ones who have passed.

"It has such a deeper meaning. It's a cultural event for us. It's a way to honor our ancestors, a way to honor those loved ones who have just recently passed. It's a way to get together with our family and just celebrate the living and the dead," said Karina Sanchez, who is part of the planning committee for the Day of the Dead 5K.

Over 400 people participated in the Day of the Dead 5K.

Many runners told CBS 58 it was a perfect fall day to be a part of the event.

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