Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival has become the favorite fall festival for the Denton community. Drawing 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each year, the festival takes place on the last weekend of October and is family-friendly, super fun, and a true community binder. The Day of the Dead Festival is unique because it brings together all things Harvest, Día de Muertos, and Halloween in one incredible event.
The History of the Festival
Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival is the brainchild of local composer and musician David J. Anzaldúa Pierce. In 2009, David created a Halloween-themed musical featuring Denton artists, musicians, and performers. Known as Cirque du Horror, the musical was staged at Dan’s Silverleaf and was a huge success. In 2011, the event expanded to include an outdoor festival stage and vendor booths. From there it only continued to grow, taking over more streets and adding the famous Coffin Races to the lineup.
One thing that’s amazing about the Day of the Dead Festival is that it’s not a city-run event. While the city of Denton has certainly embraced it — and has become an official sponsor — the festival was established and continues to be run by local artisans, musicians, businesses, and citizens. It is truly a reflection of Denton’s creative community.
How Little Guys Movers Takes Part
Little Guys Movers has been involved with Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival (at first, in an unofficial capacity) since its inception. When David decided to turn Cirque du Horror into a festival, he enlisted the help of Little Guys co-founders Marcus Watson and Chris Hawley, as well as Dan Mojica of Dan’s Silverleaf, to pitch the idea to the local
businesses that would be involved. “I had ideas, but no experience in setting up a festival. Little Guys had experience with different festivals,” says David. “If it wasn’t for their support, guidance, and wisdom, this festival never would have happened. They helped me through the process, and we wouldn’t have what we have today without the help and love from Little Guys Movers!”
Little Guys Movers remains involved with Day of the Dead Fest every year, with many of our leadership members taking on big roles in the event. Little Guys Co-Founder Marcus Watson is the Site and Operations Manager, Chief Operating Officer Eric Eisenmann is the Logistics Coordinator, Little Guys HR and Marketing Officer Amy Stults is the Vice President and Vendor Coordinator, and Marcus’ Handler (a.k.a., his wife) Stephanie Watson is the festival Treasurer. Co-Founder Chris Hawley is in charge of making sure that 300 bales of hay are ready for Cirque du Horror, the Pumpkin Patch, and the Coffin Races.
Little Guys Movers is also a sponsor of the event, donating $2500 each year, and helps recruit other sponsorships. We provide space for the Cirque du Horror orchestra to rehearse, and of course we also do what we do best — move items in and out of storage before and after the event.
Why Denton’s Day of the Dead Matters
Little Guys Movers is incredibly proud to be part of something that brings joy to so many people. We love celebrating Día de Muertos, an important part of Mexican culture. Día de Muertos is a time where the deceased are given divine permission to visit their loved ones on earth, and families get to remember and celebrate those who have passed. It’s incredibly meaningful.
And even outside of its cultural significance, Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival is a vital part of our community. A community obviously needs housing, jobs, and a strong economy — but it also needs these kinds of events that bring us all together and reinforce a sense of belonging and love for each other. Little Guys Movers was founded in Denton, Texas, and it will always be home. This festival is just another reason to love it.
Header photo by Ed Steele Photography