Renewal and remembrance: Altar Show celebrates 19th year |

Renewal and remembrance: Altar Show celebrates 19th year

The Altar Show, now in its 19th year, is the raw balance of compassion and creativity on display now through November 5 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Over 50 individual altars are on display and are limited only by the creativity of the individual. Some evoke laughter, tears, thought, or playfullness. Some are simple, some are elaborate, like Don Baldwin’s ‘Changing Earth Mandala’ that sits beyond a meditation pool with candles floating in it. Baldwin created the altar to honor Earth Protectors, those that lost their lives protecting their land, water, wildlife, and minerals.

“There’s some you don’t like, some you don’t get, and some that will absolutely touch your soul,” Meg Hughes said at the show on its opening day Saturday.

Hughes’ mother started the Altar Show 19 years ago and was inspired by the Latin American tradition of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, where families honor their dead loved ones.

The show has since expanded to allow a full spectrum of altars, including a dimly lit room where altars, such as Baldwin’s, are displayed with the help of mood lighting.

An altar in honor of Derek Sorenson that would have usually presented his old bowling gear was displayed only in photographs since many of the posessions had burned in the Lobo Fire. That hasn’t kept the recurring altar from continuing to grow and honor Sorenson.

A Community Altar in the center of the entire display, sits unfinished with the hopes that members of the community will come and add photos and messages of their own.

The Altar Show is free and open from noon to 7 p.m. everyday through November 5.

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