Dunmore Cemetery Tour Returns Next Month

By Julie Esty
Tour Director

The annual Dunmore Cemetery tour will return to the first two Sundays of October, which fall this year on Oct. 3 and 10, beginning at 2 p.m.

Because of the uncertainty of Covid 19, we have decided to go with a drive-through format again. It was a very successful event in 2020, and we will give visitors a new tour book and expanded route through the cemetery. The tour book they receive can be used at any point following the tour, either for drive or walk through.

We will have a different line-up of people from the past featured this year, with a whole new route. As always, admission is free. Since we have learned that many people on a national level are returning pets adopted from shelters during the pandemic, we have decided to partner with Griffin Pond Animal Shelter this year and accept donations of pet items at the gate.

We have been the fortunate recipients of a sizable Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Covid grant for adapting our art form, and we have also received a Municipal Arts Grant from the Borough of Dunmore to aid in financing this free tour.

It is our plan to make the cemetery more of a harvest festival this year.  We did this to a degree last year, but our funds were limited.  We plan to do more this year.  The cemetery looked absolutely gorgeous with corn stalks and scarecrows – even ghosts — so we’re expanding on that.  

The final resting place of Dunmore music teacher and director of music Martha Matthews Owens was decorated by the Dunmore Federation of Teachers.

Right now we have close to 100 bouquets of flowers for the Home for the Friendless Section and about a dozen wreaths to adorn mausoleums. We’re just starting to get ready now — I’m sure there will be an explosion of autumn in the cemetery for folks to see.

Our dear friends at Gertrude Hawk Chocolates will be supplying a “goodie’ for tour visitors.  Some people/organizations are decorating mausoleums.  Our friends at the Lackawanna Historical Society are going to take care of George Catlin’s spot.

As always, our Dearly Departed Players will be in the cemetery to guide people along the tour route. Costume planning has begun, and the Players are looking forward to getting out in the cemetery and seeing everyone.

We look at back and remember the tour was so positive last year.  People were so happy, and even with our visitors  in vehicles, we got to interact with the public on a large scale and it was wonderful.  The drive through method is really cool, and it works like a charm.  Of course, we are looking forward to the time when we get back to our regular format,  but for now this is great.  

The tour took about a half hour last year, and this year we expect it should take a bit longer.  

Since I am up the front where the cars come in, I decided a hoop skirt or dress isn’t the safest thing, so I will be going out there again as a hippie. Last year, folks were flashing me peace signs — soI am hoping they will do it again this year!

On another note, local filmmaker Luz Cabrales from Scranton Films worked with the tour for two years and has made a one-hour documentary about our beginnings. Then Covid hit.  That took the documentary down an interesting avenue.  

Luz showed how bleak things looked and how we adapted and a community worked together to help others.  It’s a beautiful film – she did an amazing job. The aerial views of the cemetery/Dunmore/the huge crowd are amazing.  She started submitting the documentary to different film festivals internationally and it is being seen on an international level. 

5K Race and Pet Parade to Benefit Griffin Pond

Griffin Pond Animal Shelter will host its inaugural Wag-O-Ween 5K and Pet Costume Parade Saturday, Oct. 16, at McDade Park, pavilion 1, at 1 Bald Mountain Rd., Scranton. Registration and check-in are from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m., and the race begins at 10.

At the event, runners are invited to wear their favorite Halloween costume or running gear as they dash through a 5K course designed by Scranton Running Company. The top male and female runners in each age category will receive a medal. 

The runners who compete in costume also will vie for the scariest, funniest, best superhero, and most unique costume prizes. All runners will receive a complimentary Griffin Pond Animal Shelter Wag-O-Ween 5K and Pet Costume Parade t-shirt. Registration is $35 and can be completed at www.runsignup.com/griffinpond.

Following the race at approximately 11:30 a.m., Griffin Pond will host a Halloween pet costume parade. Parade participants should check in at 11 a.m. at pavilion 1. During the event, pet owners will escort their pets as they contend for the funniest, cutest, most creative, and most unique costume prizes. Parade registration is $15. The shelter also has numerous sponsorship options available which are great advertising vehicles for businesses or a way to honor someone. To register for the parade or as a sponsor, please visit www.griffinpondanimalshelter.com.

All proceeds will benefit the shelter’s canine and feline enrichment program.

For more information, contact Jackie Galvin, M.S., development and communications director, at 570-586-3700, ext. 522 or jackie@griffinpondas.com.

Griffin Pond Animal Shelter was established as the Humane Society of Lackawanna County in 1938 to provide shelter for homeless, unwanted, and abused animals. The shelter cares for more than 200 animals on a daily basis. As a non-profit organization, Griffin Pond Animal Shelter does not receive any assistance from government agencies or subsidies from other institutions. The shelter operates on donations from the community. For more information about Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, please visit www.griffinpondanimalshelter.com.

La Festa Italiana is Back!

After the event was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, La Festa is returning and will be held Labor Day weekend, Friday through Monday, Sept. 3-6, on Courthouse Square, Scranton. Hours are Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The festival committee is collaborating with the Lackawanna County Commissioners and the Mayor of Scranton’s Office to plan the event. COVID vaccines, masks and hand sanitizers will be available at no charge.

A variety of vendors will be offering Italian food and other items, and continuous live entertainment will be featured. There is no admission charge. This year’s presenting sponsor is the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Also returning this year are The Bronx Wanderers, La Festa’s main act on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

The Bronx Wanderers deliver a “Back to the Future” high-octane ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s rock n’ roll experience featuring the infectious energy of the music that skyrocketed classics like “American Graffiti,” “Happy Days” and “A Bronx Tale” to immediate success. 

Among the many other acts that will perform are The Cameos, comedian Uncle Floyd Vivino, Frank Sinatra tribute (Chris DiMattio), Dean Martin Tribute (Andy DiMino from Las Vegas), a Connie Francis tribute featuring Nikki Rasmus, Gene Dempsey Orchestra, Old Friends, Flaxy Morgan, Popstar Drive, Mike Lanza, The Luongo Brothers, The Wanabees, Daddy-O and the Sax Maniax, The Exact Change, Gerard Mayer Band, the Mark Montella Project featuring Erin Malloy, La Festa’s principal Italian tenor Michael Castaldo, Ballet Theatre of Scranton performing Italian folk street dances, plus jugglers, magicians, street acts, favorite local bands and dance groups.

The annual Mass in Italian will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, located one block from the festival site. The Mass will also be televised live by CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.

Fireworks presented by Dickson City Hyundai will be displayed on Sunday night.

For more information, the complete entertainment schedule and updates, visit the festival Web site at: www.lafestaitaliana.org

La Festa Italiana will literally hit the ground running with the Ninth Annual Captain James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 10 a.m. The race is being sponsored by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO, the Italian-American service organization, and proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania Christmas Party and West Scranton High School Scholarship Program. Pre-registration deadline is Sept. 1 and can be done at https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Scranton/Minicozzi5k