All Souls Procession Weekend 2016 is November 5 – 6.
The All Souls Procession & Finale Ceremony will take place on Sunday, November 6. We will gather at 4:00 to start lining up. The Procession will begin at 6:00 PM. The Finale Ceremony will take place at the lot east of the Mercado San Agustin after the bulk of the Procession arrives at the Finale site—usually at approximately 8:30.
Details on the route are available on our route page.
You will be walking in city streets and in an unfinished dirt lot. So wear comfy shoes, bring water, and you might want a flashlight. Please keep an eye out for each other! All of us are responsible for taking care of each other.
Downtown has very few public restrooms. There are port-a-potties at the gathering and Finale site along with a couple of other locations along the route and restrooms in the Mercado San Agustin. Local businesses may be happy to let you use a restroom if you are also patronizing their business.
If you want to push a float or a stroller, please do, but know that it takes a little work. The route is about 2 miles and we walk slowly. Consider starting further along the route if you need to.
If you are not walking in the Procession, but are watching from the sidewalk, please stay on the curb as the Procession approaches you. Once the Urn & taiko drums pass, feel free to step in and join the Procession if you would like.
At the Finale site, you will see a designated area for floats and groups that are going to participate in the Domo (walk across the stage). Do not enter this area unless you are a float or group planning to participate in the Domo.
Come and enjoy the experience in a way that works for you.
- Dress up
- Get out of your regular regimen and persona
- Make a mask, a puppet, an art installation, an altar, some way of honoring those who have gone before, who we remember, honor, release, and embrace.
The Procession is what you make of it. Allow yourself to flow into an experience of real community, where we interact in ways that are different, authentic to our nature, and open to our feelings.
While there is lots to look at during the Procession, it is not primarily a spectator event. You will have the deepest experience if you get involved, even if that’s something as simple as pinning a photo of a loved one to your shirt.
Be high, drunk, or in anyone else’s space in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
This event should be safe to bring a newborn infant to or your dear aging grandmother. What allows the magic to happen is for everyone to feel safe. It is your job to create this kind of space.
The moment we require help from police or any other authority to make sure that happens, we have lost something truly precious.
Recognize this amazing opportunity to interact with each other in the streets in ways we would like the rest of the world to experience.
This does not mean an abandonment of responsibility: just the opposite. The freedom we can express during this event is EARNED through our responsibility. Anybody with a different agenda needs to go do that someplace else.
The Procession is a highly participatory event. You can walk the whole route, sit on the sidewalk the whole time, or jump in and out–walking part of the route, watching for a bit, and then walking some more.
The gathering site is VERY crowded. If you have small children or dogs, are uncomfortable with large crowds, or just prefer a little more elbow room, it is probably not the best place for you. Instead, you may want to find a place along the route to watch or join the Procession as it passes by.
Remember that the Procession is a participatory event–it is not primarily designed for spectators. Rather, it is designed for participants. You are welcome to line up along the sidewalks to watch, but know that once the Procession arrives it is a flood of people, not a single-file line of marchers in the middle of the street. You may find that you can’t see much from the side of the street at that point.
Registration for the Procession is not required.
But if you have a musical group, a large group, or a large float, it can be helpful. Please add yourself to our pre-registration mailing list. We will send you details closer to the Procession date.
Registration is meant simply to make sure musical groups are aware of their placement in relation to other musical groups–it wouldn’t do to have bagpipes and samba drums competing with one another–and proximity to other (non-musical) projects that may heighten the wonderful experience of the myriad of spontaneous collaborations that happen.
This year floats, moving installations, bands, etc. will have a separate path into the Finale grounds so that we can better accommodate the flow of the Finale experience. More details to come.
Put it on wheels, strap it to your back, wear it, put lights in it, walk or ride it, and keep it under 10 ft tall OR make it so it can lower and raise again to get under the low clearance areas and electrified street car lines.
For safety reasons, floats must be non-motorized. That is, they can be powered by bicycle, towed by a human, or even towed by a dog, but they cannot be powered by a car, truck, motorcycle, or other motorized vehicle.
Because of the overhead electrical lines, NO floats/puppets can be over 12 feet tall. And please be careful around the tracks and the streetcars. We may need to pause occasionally to accommodate the streetcar.
If you have questions–or need assistance, inspiration, or guidance–we suggest that you attend one or more of the art workshops.
Downtown has thousands of parking spaces.
City Parking Garages include:
- Pennington St. Garage located at 110 E. Pennington (entrance off of Scott Ave.)
- Plaza Centro located at 345 E. Congress
- Depot Plaza located at 45 N. 5th Ave
- Main Library located at 101 N. Stone (entrance off of Alameda St.)
- City / State located at 498 W. Congress
- La Entrada (Water) located at 310 W. Alameda
- Wells Fargo Garage at 35 E. Alameda St. (closes at 9PM)
City Parking Lots include:
- Catalina Lot, Franklin Lot, Paseo Redondo Lot, Toole Lot and City Hall South Lot
There is also limited parking near the Finale site at Mercado San Augustin.
There are many bed and breakfasts, hotels, and rentals available in the downtown Tucson area. A Google search will give you plenty of options.
Riverpark Inn—which is in easy walking distance of the Finale site and streetcar—offers a discounted rate to All Souls Procession attendees and donates a portion of their proceeds to the Procession. We encourage you to check out their offerings.
The All Souls Procession community art workshops are a great place to get inspiration, information, and guidance as you work on your project for the Procession.
The Procession of Little Angels (PoLA) costuming workshops are an opportunity for children and families to get help and inspiration as they create costumes for the Procession of Little Angels. Come on down and create some wings! Or a wizard’s hat! Or a frog costume! Or whatever your imagination is inspired to.
Art and costuming workshops are free, but donations are appreciated and encouraged!
You can also visit Xerocraft for access to tools, classes, advice, and collaborators.
Face painting isn’t necessary to have a great Procession experience, but it sure is fun! There’s something about face paint that seems to drop barriers between people.
Every year, there are multiple locations where you can get your face painted—and where your fee for the painting will help to support the donation-funded All Souls Procession.
- Avenida de Memoria on 4th Ave
- Face Paint Town at Hotel Congress
- GlitterGirlAZ at Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market
We strongly suggest arriving early if you really want to get your face painted! Lines can get long. So arrive early, get painted, go have some food, and enjoy your time downtown!
The Urn is the large steel vessel that is pulled at the front of the Procession. The Urn is a receptacle for our mementos, prayers, messages, and remembrances of those we have loved and lost. Escorting the Urn, you will see the Urn Attendants–members of the Community Spirit Group. They are there to silently receive your messages and remembrances and place them in the Urn for you.
At the culmination of the Finale, the Urn is burned, and our collective hopes, prayers, love, grief, memories, tributes, and remembrances are consumed by the flames and dissolve into the ether.
- Feel free to use the paper form to write your remembrance on.
- Or you can bring your own pre-created offering.
- The Urn Ambassadors will walk ahead of the Procession with paper and pencils for anyone who didn’t bring their own.
- You can also submit a remembrance electronically on the Urn project page.
If you are not able to get your message to the Urn during the Procession, there will be Urn Ambassadors at the barricades surrounding the Finale stage during the prep time between the Procession and the Finale. You can pass your message forward to them and they will make sure it gets into the Urn.
Please do not get between the Urn and the Procession’s police escort or crowd up around the Urn as you walk. The Urn Attendants need to be able to get to all the people along the street to collect their messages and remembrances.
Remember that whatever you place in the Urn needs to be safe to burn. Paper is great. Plastics are not.
There are multiple ways to memorialize our dead throughout the Procession: remembrances placed in the Urn, photographs we carry through the street, elaborate or simple art projects that hold deep personal significance.
And every year, we project photographs of the beloved dead onto buildings and the stage at the Finale Ceremony site. Anyone is welcome to submit a photograph to be included in the Ancestors Project—for projection during the Finale Ceremony and/or for inclusion in our All Souls Stories: This is Why We Walk Facebook albums.
Everyone who is at the Procession can get involved by lending a hand the night-of: pick up trash as you leave the Finale site, help out people who need a hand, be kind to each other. We will all mourn or be mourned by everyone we love. Remember the deep human connection that is at the heart of the Procession and act from that place.
And, if you have a bit of time before the Procession, we are volunteer-run, volunteer-staffed. A bunch of unpaid people who believe deeply in what the Procession is about. So we definitely need you! Please fill out our volunteer application to be added to our volunteer mailing list and kept up-to-date on opportunities to join our crews.
You can also get involved in one of the many events and projects that lead up to and support the All Souls Procession. It’s not just one night!
Yes, we have accessible seating near the Finale stage. Please view our route map for more information.
The Procession is not intended to be a commercial event, so we have a very limited number of vendors–primarily food vendors–at the Procession. Vendors are managed by the good folks at Mercado San Agustin.
To be added to our vendor mailing list, please fill out this form. We will send you registration and application when it is available. Vendor slots are generally filled a month to two months before the Procession takes place.
The origins of the Procession are in the arts community of Tucson. For many years, the Procession was created by the community of performance artists and painters and sculptors of Tucson as a way to honor the dead. The masks and costumes and rituals and objects that they created had little to nothing to do with Dia de los Muertos. The timing was inspired by the many cultures that see this time of year as the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest—when the dead are closest to us.
As the Procession grew, more people came from different communities. Some of them kept making up new traditions, like the artists who founded the Procession did. You will see many, many costumes and objects and traditions within the Procession that have nothing to do with the Day of the Dead. Others brought their traditions with them—whether those are drawn from Dia de los Muertos, Japanese Obon, Samhain, traditional Aztec ceremonies, or any other tradition.
So the Procession is not a Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos Parade. Dia de los Muertos is its own holiday with its own traditions, which we respect deeply. People are welcome to bring those traditions to the Procession, but the Procession is not—and never has been—trying to be a Dia de los Muertos event.
The Procession is free to attend, but far from free to organize! The Procession budget is currently about $140,000 per year.
This figure includes approximately $29,000 for City police, barricades, and permits and $25,000 for production costs. Community arts workshops, artist and teacher stipends, and administrative costs add roughly another $19,000. We spend about $10,000 on merchandise, which we then sell at a profit to help raise funds for the Procession.
Each year we budget $10,000 – $15,000 in capital investments to help make the Procession and Finale safer, more accessible, and more magnificent. Past investments have included a tower for the Urn to be placed on as it burns, thereby increasing safety and visibility; a rigging for the aerialists to perform on, increasing safety; and a new Urn, increasing safety and creating a beautiful work of art.
Most of the funding for the Procession comes from individual and small business donors. In other words, people like you. It truly is a community-owned event.
While we are working toward a time when we have money in the bank year-round, right now we operate hand-to-mouth. The Procession has proven too popular and has grown too quickly for us to keep up with the funding needs. We are getting closer and closer to getting ahead, however!
During the Procession, Hungry Ghost—the official All Souls Street Busking Fundraising crew—will be busking at the gathering point, along the Procession, and at the Finale grounds. They’ll have pedicabs, bullhorns, and signs to identify them. Please donate whatever you can to help support the Procession. We depend on the support of people like you!
Many Mouths One Stomach is the 501(c)3 non-profit arts collective that is the parent organization of the All Souls Procession. Our intent is to create, inspire, manifest, and perpetuate modern festal culture: the expression and fulfillment of core human needs through public celebration, ceremony, and ritual.
In addition to the All Souls Procession, MMOS projects include Tucson Circus Arts and we provide non-profit support to several other organizations including Sol Axe and Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts. Profits from Tucson Circus Arts classes help to fund the All Souls Procession.
The All Souls Procession is a volunteer-run and donation-funded event. The non-profit parent organization, Many Mouths One Stomach, is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers.
Almost all of the ushers, performers, technical staff, artists, workshop leaders, and behind-the-scenes workers who make the Procession happen are volunteers. In other words, people just like you who have stepped up to help make this event happen for our community.
The Procession does not happen without the community. If you put something in the Urn to burn at the end, if you walk with us pushing a rolling altar, if you drop money in the donation boxes, if you volunteer for a season helping construct an art project, teaching a workshop or helping us clean up…
YOU ARE A STAKEHOLDER!
We feel strongly that the Procession should remain of and by the community. While a large corporate sponsor might alleviate many of our financial concerns, that funding is likely to come with requirements and obligations we are reluctant to take on. We are committed to local, community ownership of the Procession.
We want the Procession to be accessible to all, regardless of ability to pay.
That said, while the Procession is free to participate in, it costs about $140,000 to produce. If everyone who attends donates a few dollars, the Procession will be completely paid for.
The Procession had its beginnings in 1990 with a ritualistic performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson, who was grieving the passing of her father.
Inspired by the creativity and joy of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos holiday, Johnson felt she should honor her father in celebration and creativity. She gathered a couple dozen friends and performance artists to join her, and they created their own ritual performance art piece to celebrate their loves and honor their grief.
The performance was very well received and many artists were inspired to continue growing the Procession into its modern incarnation.