Mesa Mask Festival Asks Attendees To Get Creative And Outrageous

By Tom Maxedon
Published: Saturday, September 18, 2021 - 5:05am
Updated: Sunday, September 19, 2021 - 6:50am

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The pandemic tore through arts communities nationwide during 2020, prompting the cancellation of in-person events in Arizona well into 2021.

With widely available vaccines, many event sponsors are now more comfortable hosting in-person shows, exhibits and jubilees like the annual Mask Alive Festival, which returns Sunday afternoon from 2-5 p.m. at Mesa’s Pioneer Park after a virtual exhibition last year. Carmen Guerrero, executive director of Cultural Coalition and the festival, says attendees are encouraged to “mask-up” with creative facial coverings and a prize will be awarded for the most outrageous.

 “This is also an event we call ‘arts creative place-making.’ It’s like reclaiming a public space especially Pioneer Park here in Mesa. We’re reclaiming that space to create art to do something creative with the kids and the community," Guerrero said. 

Cultural Coalition
A mask worn at a previous Mask Alive festival in Mesa.

Now in its fourth run, the festival hosts a wide array of artistic expressions such as dancing, performance art, as well as music with an emphasis on performers and attendees wearing masks that represent a variety of cultures — not just those indigenous to the Southwest.   

The free event will offer food for sale, and attendees are encouraged to wear facial coverings under their decorative masks — though they are not required — as well as to bring their own blankets or chairs. A prize will be awarded for the most creative mask worn.

Schedule of Performances:

2 p.m. – Welcome by artist Zarco Guerrero
2:10 p.m. – Desert Sounds Music
2:40 p.m. – Sankofa African Drums
3:10 p.m. – Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli
3:40 p.m. – Ken Koshio & Taiko Drumming
4:10 p.m. – Astarte Belly Dancing
4:30 p.m. – Mask Raffle Winner Announcement
4:40 p.m. – Axé Capoeira Brazilian Dance
4:55 p.m. – Dance of the Cucuis, Mask & Puppet Parade

Arts + Entertainment