Major changes for Tucson's Annual All Souls Procession

Published: Sep. 29, 2017 at 12:41 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:15 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Major changes are coming to one of Tucson's biggest events.

There is a new starting location for the 28th All Souls Procession. In years past the event has started at 6th Ave and 7th Street near downtown. It will now start in the Barrio Hollywood neighborhood, on Grande just south of Speedway.

The All Souls Procession is a massive event for Tucson, drawing more than 100,000 people each year to celebrate and honor the dead.

"It's really this huge container of love and grief," said Melanie Cooley, the All Souls Procession Event Coordinator. "Many Mouths One stomach" Board Member and volunteer coordinator said.

Big changes are coming this November. The event route will now start in the Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood. Cooley said one of the main reasons for the change is to put more focus on the Santa Cruz River. Over the years it's gone from a vital flowing river to a dry bed.

"Walking the ghost river is really, we're bringing that heart to mourning what has already been lost and being aware of that spirit of water," Cooley said.

Cooley said their budget for the elaborate procession is $150,000. The majority of the money comes from community donations.

"We pay for the barricades. We pay for permits to close the street. We pay for the police presence. We pay for the fire presence – the insurance," Cooley said.

Local businesses like Pat's Chili Dogs, which will now be at the center of the starting location, said they are eager to have the influx in customers.

"I'm kind of excited. It's going to be pretty busy – so we're looking forward to it," Jesus Miranda, Assistant Manager at Pat's Chili Dogs said.

Businesses located near the former starting point at 6th Ave and 7th Street said having the procession route moved will be a big setback.

"Not having it start here might be anywhere from 50 percent to 70 percent reduction in our day sales. That's significant. It's absolutely the best day of our month and one of probably the three best days of the year – so we'll take a hit. But other businesses are going to have a chance to see something magical that day and it's good for our community," Adam Ledford, General Manager at Borderlands Brewing Company said.

Tucson News Now asked the event coordinator about parking options as spaces are limited in the new starting location.

"We're working on a few things for parking so that is still in the works to figure out exactly how that will function. But we have some really good alternatives coming up," Cooley said.

This year's musical performance guests will be the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. The finale spot of the procession will stay the same, ending in the dirt lot area near Mercado San Agustin.

The All Souls Procession will take place on Sunday, Nov. 5.

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