Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Honoring the Dead: Uptown’s Día de Los Muertos Festival

Photo Credit: Christopher Araujo
Contestant Jezel Alanis in front of a classic car with an altar. Alanis won first place for the “Catrina” costume contest on October 8 at Uptown Whittier for “Los Muertos” festival.

Uptown Whittier hosted the 18th year anniversary “Los Muertos” festival on 8 of October. With lots of festivities ranging from Alta car exhibits, live music and performances, food trucks and a costume contest. Plenty of local street vendors were in attendance selling bracelets and coffee mugs with traditional Mexican designs on them. The festival covered the entire area of uptown streets like Greenleaf, Philadelphia and Bright Avenue. Given how hot the temperature was outside, the popular drinks are the “aguas frescas.” People in attendance had their faces painted as “Calavera Catrina.” 


A contest was held of “calavera catrinas” with outfits and face paint. A  lot of the outfits in the contest held a special meaning to the contestants. The winner of the contest was Jezel Alanis. Alani’s hat that she wore had a curtain-like mechanism that opened so people were able to see her face and heart on her chest that was able to pump like a real one. Her costumewas put together by her grandma, aunt, and her “nina.”


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 “A lot of engineering went towards this costume to dedicate to all my grandparents,” Alanis explained the process and significance of making the costume she wore. Alanis explained that the makeup she wore took about an hour and 30 minutes to finish. Jezel competes almost every year. 

Meeting The Car Clubs

This festival was an exhibition from several car clubs, this exhibition was adorned with several altars dedicated to each car owner’s friends and family. A lot of the people in the car exhibition were from car clubs that do charity events and cruises. Fidel Alvarez shared his story about his 1947 Chevy Fleetmaster four door. Alverez has been the owner of the Fleetmaster for two years and fixed it from the ground up. “It was nothing like what you see now. The back end, that is all there was. I restored everything,” Fidel explained all the work he has put in to make his car. “I had the interior redone, all new wiring, I redid the engine, put new tires.” 


Fidel’s car club is the “Classic Life Car Club.”A family oriented car club established for about a year, making it one of the newer clubs. “We do events like this, charitable events, and we go out on rides,” Fidel said on what the car club does together. Alvarez’s altar had his mom, mother in law, father in law, and his older brother,his wife’s mom and dad, and his very good friend “Big Lou.” 

The Only Girl in The Car Club

Destiny Acero, a member of a car club, has a 1968 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. She has owned it for two and a half years. “It was pretty much stock when I got it, but once I got it I kinda just took off with it,” Acero talked about the condition she got it for. “ It was always a dream of mine to have a 70’s style car,” Destiny shared her desire for wanting a classic car. Acero is part of the “Familia Ochoa Car Club,” Which is only of family members. “It’s like uncles, my father in law, I am actually the only girl in the car club too.” Acero said the car goes to barbecues, family events, and cruises. Her altar is three pets, her uncle Ronnie, her aunty sonya, her moms high school friend, her cousin stephany, both her grandparents. 

Edgar’s Story

Edgar Franco is an owner of a 1987 Mazda truck b2000. His truck has an original paint job and color code from 1987. “I built it all the way up. When I took it to the body shop to get paint, it had 96 dents on it. They straighten it out for me,” Franco talked about the early days of his truck. On the hood of the truck there is a painting of a cactus heart on it. 


“It is very meaningful. I have a heart condition. I have what’s called an ICD(Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). That’s the meaning of it,” Edgar explained why the heart is painted on the hood of his truck. Franco is part of a car club “The Exotic Ones.” They are all locals from Temecula, Inglewood, Pico Rivera, Whitter, Ontario, and Pomona. 


“We do events like this, We go to bigger events like lowrider shows, more than anything it’s just therapy. For me it’s therapy as it is for a lot of us. And also to go out there and ride together,” Franco talked about what his car club does together. Edgar’s altar had his cousin, his grandmother, his grandfather, his grandmother’s brothers, and his father. Franco says there is a lot more and at his home he has a bigger altar.

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About the Contributor
Christopher Araujo
My name is Christopher Araujo but I go by Chris. This is my first year doing journalism. I have been trying to graduate for a long time now so I think now is the perfect time to continue where I left off finishing school up. It has not been easy as I was still unsure of what I wanted to do in life. At the time when I spoke to a counselor and professor they kept asking how committed I was to the automotive program as I started to lose interest in it. I decided to stop going to school in general to focus on getting a job. When the counselor started listing all these careers I had zero interests in them. Then she asked me what I really liked to do or what is what interests me. I did have much interest outside of school so I really couldn't think of anything until I said to myself I do like sports a lot. I go to a lot of sporting events and watch them so why not get paid to talk about them or cover the events. I want to be able to travel around the world and cover all types of sports. It is a goal of mine to report on sports i like the most.

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