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5 Things To Do This October In Milwaukee

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos by seeing an exhibit of ofrendas, which are altar displays set up to honor deceased relatives.

Halloween, Oktoberfest, and Dia de los Muertos all make October a time to party in Milwaukee. This month there are so many community events in the area, both to celebrate the holiday and celebrate what it means to be a Milwaukeean. 

Ana Martinez-Ortiz is a community engagement reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Here are her top picks for must-attend events this October.

1. Cine Sin Fronteras
Oct. 10

This year, the Milwaukee Film Festival is bringing more than 350 films to theaters throughout the area. Every year its Cine Sin Fronteras program brings special attention to films about the Latinx community. 

Martinez-Ortiz suggests going to the kick-off party for the program. "They're going to be showing some of the trailers for the upcoming films and the highlights for what this Cine sin Fronteras season has in store," she explains. 

2. On the Table
Oct. 10

Wisconsin is an incredibly diverse state, ethnically, politically, and religiously. But like anywhere, people tend to become isolated in their own communities, engulfed in different echo-chambers. On the Table is a community event which brings people together to eat dinner and talk about issues of importance. 

"Everyone's kind of coming from a different perspective and that you're sharing a meal together to discuss it, so it's all meant to be in good faith," Martinez-Ortiz says.

3. Bota Gala Night Market
Oct. 17

The Bota Gala Night Market is very similar to a day market or festival, but at night. The event is meant to connect local collectors with artists and makers, in a relaxed, festive setting.

The event is hosted by Botanica Galacitca, which is a store. "Their mission is to foster wellness and creativity and community. So, they have a lot of Latinx artists and makers," Martinez-Ortiz explains.

4. Hunting Moon Pow Wow
Oct. 18-20 

This event showcases three days of celebrating Native American culture and traditions through dancing, drumming, and singing right in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. 

"It's really exciting," says Martinez-Ortiz. "I think sometimes we do a disservice to Native Americans. So we think Native American and you might think immediately of the casino, but it's so much more than that." 

5. Dia de los Muertos
Oct. 23

Café Con Arte with Latino Arts on Oct. 23 is showcasing an exhibit of ofrendas — an altar display set up to honor deceased relatives for Dia de los Muertos. The exhibit shows the deep and personal meaning of the holiday. It will run through November

"It honors the dead, essentially. It's a beautiful tradition and celebration," says Martinez-Ortiz. 

The Mitchell Park Domes is also celebrating Dia de los Muertos in its Desert Dome, although it remains unclear who will be in its ofrenda (perhaps, beloved plants that have died). 

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, or NNS, is an online source for objective, professional multimedia reporting on issues in 18 central city Milwaukee communities.
Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Maggie Holdorf
Maggie Holdorf started as a WUWM Lake Effect intern in September 2019.