We grown folks get our share of parties and such, but, particularly for those of us with kids, Halloween becomes, by and large, the domain of the young. The days immediately after Halloween, however, can be another story.
November 1 and 2 bring El Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead: two days of festivities honoring the dead celebrated throughout Latin America and well beyond. Despite what the name and the focus might imply to those who haven’t met it before, the Day of the Dead is far from morbid — from colorful sugar skulls to costumes, dancing, music and food, it’s an enthusiastic, positive nod toward death and life, and a highly spiritually significant event for those who celebrate. When it’s celebrated in the U.S., it often morphs into a more wholesale celebration of Latin culture, too.
Which brings us back to East Nashville. This November 1, the Pavilion East hosts a Day of the Dead Tequila Festival, offering those of us over drinking age the chance to sample lots of premium tequila, bust pinatas, check out Dia de los Muertos art demonstrations, get our faces sugar skull-painted and burn off leftover trick-or-treat candy with the help of the QDP DJs. It’s a chance for us to own our own bit of the Halloween weekend, and to sip some fine spirits.
“I’ve always been interested in the Day of the Dead celebration,” says Jack Davis of JD Events and Festivals, a busy East Side event organizer and one of the folks behind the Day of the Dead Tequila Festival. “Me and my partners had been brainstorming Halloween events around Nashville, and wanted to do something different.”
Tickets to the fest (which run $25, and can be purchased online) include access to the varied activities, a chips and salsa bar and tastings of 16 different tequila brands, including el Jimador and Herradura. If you’d like to do dinner at the fest too, Chago’s Cantina will be onsite selling $2 tacos.
While a few of the activities might seem pulled from more kid-friendly fests — namely the pinatas and face painting — the Day of the Dead Tequila Festival’s versions are a bit of a twist. Busting open those pinatas won’t result in a showering of candy, but grown-up and East Side-focused prizes, like gift cards to neighborhood businesses and restaurants. And Day of the Dead sugar-skull face painting is a beautiful, long-held tradition and a far cry from the puppy faces and unicorns you’ll see at birthday parties — more art than craft.
For you cocktail and spirits enthusiasts drawn in specifically by the adult-beverage tastings, though, we asked Davis for his feelings/the official Day of the Dead Tequila Festival stance on the best way to drink tequila.
“Easy,” he says. “A shot.”
Day of the Dead Tequila Festival
When: 6 p.m., November 1
Where: Pavilion East, 1006 Fatherland St.
Tickets: $25, available online
More info: Day of the Dead Tequila Festival website