Chiles, Chocolate, and Day of the Dead Festival, a celebration combining the rich flavors of chiles and chocolate with the traditions of Dia de los Muertos, is back for its 7th year.

The festival, which takes place at the Tohono Chul Gardens, 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte, is an annual event that pays homage to the Hispanic community’s traditions and serves as a tribute to loved ones who have passed away. Event organizer Sylvia Verbais emphasized, “This is to honor traditions in the southwest and in the Hispanic community, to honor relatives that are no longer with us.”

The essence of the festival revolves around chiles, chocolate, and the Day of the Dead, creating a vibrant and unique celebration of life and remembrance. As Verbais explains, “Our festival is geared around chilies, chocolate, and Day of the Dead.”

Visitors had the opportunity to witness impressive altars created from talented artists. Antonio Estrada and his wife dedicated five hours to crafting an altar adorned with pictures of their relatives and handmade cutouts. Antonio shared, “We’re using bright colors to signify the joy of life and what joy our ancestors brought to us when they were alive, and that’s what we’re honoring today.”

Annie Gordon, another artist, expressed her belief in the continuity of life beyond death as she honored her loved ones with an altar. She states, “I really believe that there is something after this, and people can come back from the dead.”

The festival offered much more than art and remembrance. Vendors, live music, and a play area for children added to the festive atmosphere. Visitors from across the country came to partake in the celebration. Victoria Elder, a festival attendee from Ohio, remarked, “Everything is beautiful here; I mean, you can’t miss out if you come here.”

For those who missed out on this day of cultural celebration, there’s good news. The festival will continue on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., providing another opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant world of chiles, chocolate and Day of the Dead festivities.