BRADENTON -- The dead were honored at the ninth annual Village of the Arts Festival of the Skeletons, but there was no mourning, no tears.
In actuality, the event was a celebration of the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which brings together family and friends to remember deceased loved ones.
The festival ran from 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and will continue from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday with Mexican music and food being offered at all five of the village's restaurants and at certain street locations.
Inside 12th St. West Gallery, 1221 12th St. W., Sally Anderson Cosgrove spoke about the shrine she and her husband, Don, put together outside in honor of his late father, Clement Alfred Cosgrove.
Born into a farm family in Stockton, Ill., Cosgrove became a sand caster by trade. He died from cancer in 1985.
"Although I never ever got to meet him, I feel like I know him because my husband tells me all the funny things that he did," the 71-year-old artist said. "He would say, 'Well, I went in to buy a pair of shoes. I wear
size 9, but he gave me 10. They felt so good, I bought size 11!'"
Sally chuckled. It was her idea to dedicate the gallery's shrine to her late father-in-law. The shrine was topped with a lit candle, several decorations, a frame with Cosgrove's biography and even a lamp he created before he died. Behind was a large cross.
As she and her husband decorated the shrine, she said she felt like Cosgrove was there with them.
Halfway through the night, a skeleton puppet procession strolled its way down 12th Street West. Mary Ellen Harris, 59, stood and watched with her mother, Marion Stephens, as adults and children with giant skeleton masks walked by, some with tambourines. Marion sat in a chair to watch the procession, which ended up being much shorter than she had anticipated.
"It was very nice," she said, adding that she had never seen anything like that before.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.