Zach Hilton
Zach Hilton
music in the park san jose

La Ofrenda Festival, Gilroy’s Inaugural Dia de Muertos Festival & Wellness Fair on Oct. 28 from 1-7pm, will be an extraordinary event. 

It is more than just a day of festivities; it’s an immersive experience that embraces Día de Muertos—a time when families come together to honor their departed loved ones. With vibrant ofrendas (altars) adorned with marigold flowers, moving performances, a community bike ride, and a variety of talented artists, the festival promises an unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression on South County and beyond. 

The festival is made possible with a Gilroy Elevate the Arts Grant, a program of SVCreates, with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, City of Gilroy, County of Santa Clara and fiscally sponsored by Local Color.

Gilroy’s La Ofrenda Festival is bringing together a cross section of sponsorships and partnerships from government, education, health, private sector, arts, transportation, culture, nonprofits, labor workforce and more. I would like to personally invite you to join us, and travel to the festival by bike, bus, walk or drive. 

The arts are alive in Gilroy. In 2021, I was contacted by SV Creates (Santa Clara County Arts Council) to build a relationship that wasn’t here prior in Gilroy. From those first initial meetings blossomed into an Arts Círculo held at 6th Street Studios & Art Center and the Neon Exchange. Today we have a monthly Arts Roundtable, Third Friday Art Walk, Chalk Fest, La Ofrenda Festival, and doors continue to open. 

We provide year-round bicycle, pedestrian and transit education and opportunities through programs and policies that promote leaving the car at home and choosing to walk/bike/roll and take transit. This helps teach our residents safe walking and biking skills, reduces traffic and air pollution, and helps you get more physical activity. La Ofrenda Festival will have many experiences for you including a community bike ride, bike valet, bike rodeo, helmet fittings, bike repair, bike education, wellness vendors and a Health & Transit Plaza that features a VTA bus and Caltrain booth. 

Gilroy’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure consists of buses, trains, bikes, scooters and walking. There are many ways to continue to draw residents toward leaving their cars at home and we encourage you to use these active modes of transportation when traveling to the La Ofrenda Festival. Gilroy has a fully connected bike network and transit options.

Advancing mobility options reflects what we are teaching the youth in our community through Safe Routes to School and why we are nationally recognized as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists, as well as recognized by the World Health Organization as an Age-Friendly Community. The City of Gilroy is a Complete Streets and Recreation Destination community by resolution. 

Gilroy celebrates the role that the arts and creativity play in helping us navigate a pandemic, amplify the need for racial equity, and highlight the power of the arts to change our lives for the better.

SV Creates partners locally with the Gilroy Arts & Culture Commission and Gilroy Arts Roundtable to include the City of Gilroy with a network of leaders who care about the resilience of our arts ecosystem and its impact to our community. They are conveners, promoters, incubators and funders of the arts with a mission to elevate Silicon Valley’s creative culture. 

The City of Gilroy recognizes that the arts and creativity support student success and life-long learning, provide key job skills, and bring joy to our community while strengthening our connections; and values partnering with SV Creates and State-level organizations to promote unified support for the arts.

Zach Hilton is a Gilroy City Councilmember.

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