Another year, another route adjustment.
The All Souls Procession will start in a new spot this year, just south of the intersection of North Sixth Avenue and East Sixth Street, the same block that houses Exo Roast Co., Miller’s Surplus and Tap & Bottle.
The annual procession, now in its 24th year of honoring the dead, has been forced to shift its route around in recent years, primarily due to ongoing development downtown and Modern Streetcar construction.
Last year, the event started on the East Toole Avenue side of Hotel Congress.
“Our new starting point should relieve the congestion,” artistic director Nadia Hagen said. “The tail of the procession can spread all the way down Sixth. The space is nice and big. There are a lot of open lots on either side, where people can stage themselves and feed themselves in.”
The rest of the route will remain the same as last year, winding down East Alameda Street, past North Granada Avenue, then banking onto East Congress, before heading west to the finale stage adjacent to Mercado San Agustín — a little more than a mile in all.
The initial gathering process will start an hour earlier — at 4 instead of 5 p.m. — and, for the first time, feature a second procession stage with live performances.
This year’s event, expected to bring tens of thousands of people to downtown, will include music and theatrics from A Tribe Called Red out of Ottawa Canada, the Carpetbag Brigade from San Francisco and Nemcatacoa Teatro from Bogota, Colombia.
“We are bringing in people from all over,” Hagen said.
Hagen said some aspects of the procession have taken off this year. Social media has helped boost the number of people donating to the festivities. Organizers have already raised $40,000 of the $70,000 required to make it all happen.
The procession also has adopted the inaugural Night of the Living Fest as its official pre-party, which will take place at Old Tucson on Saturday.
“It serves as a nice bookend for the weekend, especially for folks traveling in from out of town,” Hagen said. “Then there is the Dance of the Dead on Sunday at the Rialto. Other bars and venues are holding their own pre-parties and after-parties, as well. There is so much stuff going on.”
“That is what we would like to highlight — the strength of all of these different events coming together all around us.”