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5 Things To Do This October 2020 In Milwaukee

Dave Walker
Items on an ofrenda altar for Day of the Dead.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Milwaukeeans continue to hold events — in person and virtually — to celebrate the many things this city has to offer. This October, as COVID-19 cases are at record highs, many events are entirely virtual, outside, or strictly regulating access through sign-ups and reservations.

Adam Carr, the engagement editor for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, shares his list of some exciting things happening in the city this month:

1. "See Me Because Vol. 8" portrait gallery at Alice's Garden

While Alice's Garden has been used for many things, Carr says this may be the first time it's served as an art gallery. The "See Me Because Vol. 8" exhibit features portraits of young men of color as they want to be seen by their community. 

"The young men got to be kind of artistic directors, working with a variety of different artists to shape how they would be portrayed," says Carr.  

2. Voter registration at Walnut Way

It's an election year like no other. With the pandemic impacting every aspect of our lives, voting and voter registration is no different. The Walnut Way Conservation Corp., is opening its Wellness Commons to help people register to vote for the November election. 

Volunteers will help people register to vote at Walnut Way every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12-6 p.m. until Oct. 16. 

3. Milwaukee Film's Black Lens program

The Milwaukee Film Festival will be completely virtual this year. That includes the Black Lens program, which highlights work by Black artists and filmmakers, and explores stories rooted in the Black community. Since the festival will be virtual, Carr says it's an opportunity to see more of the 200 films included in this year's festival without the regular restriction of showtimes. 

"Obviously, there will be events that have specific times, but you'll be able to watch [the fims] when you please," he explains.

4. Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service is featuring opinion pieces and personal stories from Milwaukee's Latinx community. Carr says it's an exciting opportunity to center narratives from Hispanic writers and feature some amazing voices from the community.

"We've just had an embarrassment of riches. Just wonderful, thoughtful, in-depth, personal, vulnerable pieces that folks have written," says Carr. 

5. Day of the Dead celebrations

Some people conflate Halloween with Day of the Dead (also known as Dia de Muertos). But while the dates overlap, the two holidays have different origins and celebrate different things. 

"[Day of the Dead is] about not just acknowledging death but celebrating those who have passed. It's a time of family and it's a time of reflection," Carr says.

This year's celebrations will look a bit different than previous years, but there will still be some of the annual events, like the ofrenda exhibit at Latino Arts. 

Joy Powers is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.