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Nov 4, 2013 1:57 PM by Sam Salzwedel

Thousands attend All Souls Procession

TUCSON - Tens of thousands of people packed Downtown for the 24th All Souls Procession.

Visitors from all over the world visit Tucson to remember the dead.

Debbie Gonzales came from Nogales to see the parade for the first time.

"It's not just a party atmosphere," she said. "It's really something much deeper than that. I think it's going to be really colorful."

A group of 8 professional street performers called Nemcatacoa Teatro brought their talents on stilts from Colombia.

"We have to train a lot to do what we do," Alicia Gerstein said. "And we have to warm up to take care of our bodies, to get ready to do the kind of work that we do."

People dressed up and built memorials for everybody from lost pets to lost educators.

Gene Jones founded Tucson Unified School District's Opening Minds through the Arts program. He died in January, and a group from the district walked in his honor.

"Gene would absolutely love this procession," Joan Ashcraft said. "If he could march in it, he would. He passed away at 92 years of age."

The sidewalks and even parking garages were overflowing with spectators. David Yoder watched from the third floor of a garage on Alameda Street.

"I can't complain a bit. I got the best view in town," he said. "It's a lot of fun. If you like people watching, this is the place to be."

Organizers hired a group to figure out the event's economic impact on the city.

Police and barricades cost thousands of dollars. Organizers believe if everybody gave $2, they would not end up in debt like last year.

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