After canceling the Día de los Muertos Festival, the New Braunfels Hispanic Business Alliance created a new way to celebrate

From left: Tanya Perez, Mary Ann Labowski and Shelley Bujnoch gathered for the Día de los Muertos painting party. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
From left: Tanya Perez, Mary Ann Labowski and Shelley Bujnoch gathered for the Día de los Muertos painting party. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

From left: Tanya Perez, Mary Ann Labowski and Shelley Bujnoch gathered for the Día de los Muertos painting party. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)

Six months before what would have been the fifth annual Día de los Muertos Festival in New Braunfels, members of the planning committee and the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s Hispanic Business Alliance canceled the celebration due to concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The association announced the festival’s cancellation April 30, which made it one of the first of several large events in the city to be canceled.

“I thought, you know, the sooner, the better,” 2020 HBA Chair Shelley Bujnoch said. “We'll just hope and pray that next year, we're just going to come back bigger and better.”

Bujnoch has been involved in planning the annual event since it began in 2015. She said the festival has become an important part of the New Braunfels community and regularly attracts visitors from around the state.

“It's exciting to see how people have taken to what we bring to our community,” Bujnoch said. “Like other traditions here in town, I think it's important that [celebrations] are embraced because at the end of the day, there's this true meaning to why things are celebrated. And for our festival, that meaning is celebrating those that are no longer here.”


In lieu of the annual parade and street festival, the HBA elected to host two smaller events. The first is a virtual painting party hosted by Painting With a Twist on Oct. 18. For the other, the HBA will partner with Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatre to show the Disney film "Coco" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1.

“We still needed to do something that was safe. We still wanted to create the remembrance of the of Día de los Muertos,” Bujnoch said. “There's no color; there's no denomination; there's no political view when it comes to losing somebody, and everybody has been touched by the loss of a loved one. And so I think that's what makes it so important to be able to continue that tradition.”

Tickets for the film screening are available online, and 50% of all ticket sales will benefit the HBA to help provide scholarships to local high school seniors.
By Lauren Canterberry

Reporter, New Braunfels

Lauren joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in October 2019. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, Lauren was a freelance journalist and worked as a college English teacher in China. At CI, Lauren covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in New Braunfels.