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Archived News Release from 2003

For Immediate Release

Learn How Traditional Sugar Skulls are Created for "Day of the Dead"

Redwood City, CA - October 27, 2003 - As part of the traditional Mexican “Day of the Dead” celebration, the Redwood City Public Library has invited sugar skull artist Elizabeth McCarthy to demonstrate the several steps involved in creating the traditional sugar skulls, or “calaveras.” The presentation takes place on Saturday November 1st at 2:30 pm, in front of the main Library at 1044 Middlefield Road. Following the demonstration, the artist’s hand-crafted sugar skulls will be available for sale. This is a unique opportunity to observe this traditional art form, and to purchase Mexican sugar skulls to celebrate the “Day of the Dead.” This FREE program is sponsored by the Friends of The Library, and is great for the whole family.

Artist Elizabeth McCarthy, driven by her passion to grow and to continue the traditions of Day of the Dead, has quickly distinguished herself as one of the Bay Area’s leading sugar skull producers. Her calaveras are offered in select bay area stores, as well as at local festivals and special events. Every sugar skull is hand-crafted by Ms. McCarthy and bears the distinctive ‘signature’ unique to her handiwork. Ms. McCarthy says, “It is so rewarding to know that my calaveras are a part of so many families’ celebrations to honor their loved ones.” The Library is fortunate to host this notable artist.

The “Day of the Dead” is a time when Mexican families remember their deceased, and celebrate the continuity of life. This is celebrated throughout Mexico and includes many unique customs that often vary widely depending on the region. Throughout all regions, common themes include colorful decorations, lively reunions at family burial plots, and the preparation and offerings of special foods. This holiday is considered one of the most important holidays of the year in Mexico, and although it is associated with the dead, it is not a morbid, sad time, but a time of happiness, remembering, and feasting.

The main Redwood City Public Library is located at 1044 Middlefield Road. For more information about this and other library programs, visit the library’s home page at or call (650) 780-7026. The Redwood City Public Library sponsors many free programs for children and adults, and helps our community to “understand the past, prepare for the future, and thrive in the present.” Visit Redwood City’s main website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business.

Contact: Maria Kramer
Interim Library Director
(650) 780-7043

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