Citizen Staff Writer
By KATE STEVENS
Husbands lined up next to their wives to check their makeup, a man in a green bat costume squawked at onlookers and hundreds of skeletons weaved through the crowd of more than 3,000.
All came to honor the dead Sunday on Fourth Avenue in preparation for the All Souls Procession.
People began lining the streets at 4:30 to get a seat for the 6 p.m. procession, which marked its 17th year.
They wore costumes, made parade floats or simply came to see the show.
“Being here makes death a part of life, a celebration of life,” Jeneiene Schaffer said.
Schaffer walked in the procession with her daughter Ruby Patterson, 4. It went down Fourth Avenue from University Boulevard to Congress Street, ending at Toole Avenue and Franklin Street.
The participants stepped to the beat of singing, drums and bagpipes as they remembered family and friends who have passed on.
Onlookers could see small children painted as skeletons riding in tiny coffins, giant puppets with oversized heads and an array of handmade floats.
Leah Stauber spent days working on a 7 1/2-by-6-foot float of an orange dog in remembrance of her pet Teak.
“He was a larger-than-life creature so it seemed to fit,” Stauber said.
Many participants had been to one of Tucson’s past All Souls Processions but there were some first-timers there too.
“I liked the big puppets,” said Kat Saint Pierre, 11, who came to celebrate the death of “Papa Gui,” her grandfather.
Another procession entrant was a 40-foot-long skeleton with working joints that needed 12 people to support it.
John Henry said the giant skeleton was in memory of his friend Bruno, who died of cancer last year.
At the end of the procession, participants could enjoy dances, entertainers twirling fire batons, drumming and a capoeta (an African martial-arts dance) circle.