South Florida’s macabre festivities aren’t quite dead yet

A mid-week Halloween always offers a great opportunity to spread out the ghoulish fun over two weekends, and with the growing popularity of the Day of the Dead there’s no good reason to stop the revelry.

South Florida Day of the Dead Celebration

That’s particularly true in Fort Lauderdale this Friday, Nov. 2, when the third annual South Florida Day of the Dead Celebration takes over downtown with a free five-hour bash and skeleton processional. That will be followed by the official after party at The Mai-Kai.
* Official website | Facebook page | Facebook event

The celebration will take place from 6 to 11 p.m. in the FAT Village Arts District just north of downtown. Led by a mariachi band, the processional will start at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art at 6:15 and wind its way north on Andrews Avenue to Northwest Fifth Street, ending at FAT Village.

Participants are invited to don skeletal attire and join the processional of giant puppets, stilt walkers, floats, drummers, circus performers, and more. At FAT Village, revelers can enjoy art, crafts, music, theater and much more. The Boneyard Bandstand will feature sets by local bands The Riot Act (6 p.m.), Los Diablos (7 p.m.), Arboles Libres (8 p.m.), Bobby Lee Rodgers (9 p.m.), and Everymen (10 p.m.)

Many area art galleries will participate with exhibits and installations. Indie crafters will be selling their wares in the Craft Crypt, and the carnival atmosphere will be enhanced by theatrical productions, performance art, body painting and other activities.

Exotica A-Go-Go's Day of the Dead After Party

The celebration is the brainchild of Jim Hammond, 42, a former puppet master for the Broadway tour of The Lion King. His Puppet Network hosts classes and workshops, makes sets and props for theater and movies, and creates custom productions for clients. His vision is to capture the ambience of Mexico’s traditional El Dia de los Muertos featuring bright flowers and skeletons but infuse it with a modern aesthetic. The event is touted as providing “memory for the dead and a party for the living.”
* New Times: Inside Jim Hammond’s puppet parade

At 11 p.m., the party moves from downtown to the historic Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant for an after-party hosted by Exotica A-Go-Go. This free dance party will feature an all-star cast of DJs – Action Pat, James Brown’s Sweat, Mikey “The Ripper” Ramirez, and Sensitive Side – spinning soul and retro classics.

Partygoers are encouraged to wear their Day of the Dead or Halloween costumes as they enjoy the late-night happy hour from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Most of The Mai-Kai’s classic cocktails will be half off during this free event.

The Mai-Kai: Official site | Facebook page
More on The Atomic Grog: Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide | See all our Mai-Kai posts

About Hurricane Hayward

A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim "Hurricane" Hayward shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog. Jim's roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father's custom car shows. His experience in journalism, mixology, and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Jim is a longtime web producer for The Palm Beach Post. In his spare time, he has promoted hundreds of rock, punk, and indie concerts under the Slammie Productions name since the early 1990s. In 2011, he launched The Atomic Grog to extensively cover events, music, art, cocktails, and culture with a retro slant. Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Post's tropical weather website.
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