FIRST LOOK: First colorful barges revealed for Day of Dead Parade in SA

River parade on Nov. 1 to feature custom-made trajineras

SAN ANTONIO – Day of the Dead San Antonio revealed the first of its trajineras arriving from Mexico ready to delight and entertain residents during the Catrinas on the River Parade, a new parade illuminating the San Antonio River with the spirit of the Day of the Dead on Nov. 1.

This first-ever Día de los Muertos river parade will feature 16 custom-made trajineras, barges that mirror the colorful, flat-bottom gondolalike traijneras in Xochimilco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just south of Mexico City.

"We're bringing props and this beautiful collection of skulls," said Javier Ruiz Galindo, CEO of the Day of the Dead Parade San Antonio. "There is so much, the barges, all the ornaments ... we're trying just to make the Day of the Dead" a family-friendly event.

The barges people can expect to see on parade night include traditional skulls, or calaveras, on a Texas-themed barge, a barge featuring the calaveras of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, one with monarch butterflies and something with which many people in San Antonio may be familiar -- the Loteria barge.

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"(Loteria is) the game we play in Mexico," said Montserrat Oliver, spokeswoman for the Day of the Dead San Antonio. "I'm sure most of you have played it with little beans, and it was so amazing because we had to make the Loteria sign go up and down so it will fit under the bridges."

Special Section: Day of the Dead

The Catrinas on the River Parade will feature more than 22 barges spotlighting local San Antonio organizations, special guests and dignitaries, with San Antonio's famous Go Rio barges joining the trajineras for a fabulous night on the river.

The San Antonio River Walk Association is helping bring the Catrinas on the River Parade to life and River Walk visitors will enjoy roving dancers and giant calaveras, or skulls, placed throughout the River Walk during the festival.

The parade will be broadcast live on KSAT 12 and on

The river parade also serves as the grand opening of Day of the Dead San Antonio, launching the festival with a special ceremony afloat a barge as the parade kicks off.

Mariachis and Day of the Dead dancers portraying La Danza de Las Mojigangas will fill the Arneson River Theater as part of the kickoff celebration.

Mojigangas, or giant dancing puppet figures, are a traditional part of Day of the Dead festivities, providing the perfect start to the Day of the Dead San Antonio festival in La Villita on Nov. 1-3.

Day of the Dead San Antonio will reveal the first of its trajineras that will be featured during the Catrinas on the River Parade on Nov. 1.

Day of the Dead San Antonio makes its debut this fall as a citywide celebration with a full slate of events never before experienced in San Antonio. 

Building on traditional "Día de los Muertos" celebrations, Day of the Dead San Antonio includes the "Catrinas on the River Parade"; as well as a 5K race that celebrates life by running through one of the city's oldest cemeteries Nov. 2; and a three-day festival filling La Villita with music, food, celebration and remembrance Nov. 1–3; as well as exhibitions and activities across the city.

Day of the Dead San Antonio's cultural events, activities and exhibitions will combine to create a festival unique to San Antonio, with the goal of making the city the top destination to celebrate the holiday in the United States.

About the Authors:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.