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Many families celebrated Dia de los Muertos in Oceanside prior to the event’s beginning in Oceanside.


In 2000, MainStreet Oceanside was granted its official status to be an organization.  Their footprint would be the Downtown area of Oceanside.  At inception, the organization was looking to develop cultural awareness in Oceanside.  With many partners, they were able to start a celebration in Downtown that grew from 2000 to 2008.


In 2006, Cathy Nykiel was the MainStreet Oceanside Event Coordinator and coordinated the festival in the Downtown from 2006-2008. 


In 2009, this event was moved from Downtown Oceanside to Mission San Luis Rey with the assistance of Event Coordinator, Cathy Nykiel who developed and managed the event that year.  She and Maureen Sullivan got a lot of continued support from the many community businesses, artists, and everyone who is now a part of the Friends of Oceanside Dia de los Muertos to assist each year.  Since then the community partners, 90% of them volunteers, the festival have grown to make it what it is today.  A Team effort by all to continue the tradition.


From 2010 to 2015, Mission San Luis Rey and their staff were the host and presenters of the event.  Maureen ran the event.  Cathy, Cedma & Manuel, David, Isela, Marleen, Beecher and Chris along with numerous community businesses and volunteers assisted each year with the event. 


In 2016, A group of individuals from Oceanside took over the Festival working with Mission San Luis Rey to keep it on their grounds.  Chema and Manuel from Por Siempre Car Club came in to assist with the festival and continue the Car Show.  Isela Gutierrez assisted with entertainment and volunteers.  Marleen Alegria and Chris Gow assisted as the all-around volunteers. Beecher Young assisted with all of the equipment, maintenance and all around go to for technical advisement.  Maureen Sullivan assisted with flowers, volunteers and with her vast knowledge of the mission, the overall setup and coordination.  David Lozeau continued with his vast artistic ability with posters, art and more.  A solid Team to make the event continue.


In 2018, Friends of Oceanside Dia de Los Muertos was developed by those individuals (the now Friends of Oceanside Dia de Los Muertos Board) who have had an intimate part of the event since 2006 or earlier.


Mission San Luis Rey has been the host of the festival since 2009. 


In 2019, Friends of Oceanside Dia de Los Muertos decided to plan to move the event back to its original location where the roots of the festival were developed, Downtown Oceanside for its 20th Annual year.  This would take some planning to ensure that all of the traditional factors of the event are included. 


Since 2021, the 20th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival will be hosted by Friends of Oceanside Dia de los Muertos in Downtown Oceanside.

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