If you believe that coffins are just for laying dead people while everyone mourns around them, then you haven’t seen it all. However, if you find it absurd and are thrilled to know how else people use coffins, then ask the people of Denton! 

On Saturday October 28th, the annual Day of the Dead festival livened up Hickory and Industrial Street in celebration of the fall season and Halloween. While there were many activities happening like Pumpkin Patch, costume contest, haunted house, and Twilight Lantern parade, the crowd gathered anxiously for the coffin races.  

Coffin races have been part of the festival for the last six years and is one of the biggest attractions that people come to enjoy. Anyone can participate in the coffin race, however the drivers and pushers must be 16, the coffins do have to pass safety inspections and have functioning brakes and the drivers must wear a quality helmet.

Racers spend months preparing their personalized coffin with numerous designs and colors. Most races represent their business, like LSA BurgerHoochies and individuals who just love to race. The Discover Denton team also got into the festivities! The racers lined up next to their components as they waited for the gunshot. The crowd cheered behind the railings, admiring the coffins designs and playfully betting who will win. Once the gunshot was is in the air, the crowd cheered louder, the partners pushed the coffin with racers in helmets, and all is well from there.

It was humorous to see some racers bump into each other, while others sped right into the stack of hay right after the finish line.  

Coffin race official Joey Hawkins said they start preparing a year in advance for the race, and each year the number of participant and crowd grows.

“The goal is to have fun really,” Hawkins says, “and to bring all these people together, because this is the only time when you see so many people at once.” 

The 2017 winner of the coffin races was one of the coffins from the American Eagle Harley Davidson team. The tradition started almost a decade ago and is partly derived from Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican tradition where people remember their loved ones who have passed. Instead of mourning the dead loved ones, they celebrate the goodness and remember them joyously.

See below for our slideshow of photos from the 2017 Denton's Day of the Dead Festival! Photos by Veronica Maldonado

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