New Documentary Focused on Dunmore Cemetery Tour

Luz Cabrales

Luz Cabrales is director of a documentary entitled “The Dunmore Cemetery Tour, with The Dearly Departed Players.”

Luz runs Scranton Films, a group of filmmakers in the area making films, TV shows and series, all featuring local resources and local talent. 

“We believe that this area is full of talented artists and beautiful landscapes that can be featured in many creative projects,” Luz explains. “Our goal is to bring film back to the area and to build a filmmaking community by fostering and highlighting the work of talented artists, local businesses and our beautiful community.”

The Dunmore Cemetery Tour Documentary takes a personal look into The Dearly Departed Players and tour director Julie Esty and follows their journey into making the tour a success every year. 

Due to the COVID-19 crisis,, a Virtual / Online premiere will be held on the group’s Facebook event page on Nov. 21, starting at 6 p.m. Go to facebook.com/scrantonfilms.

The direct link is: https://www.facebook.com/events/734810377132067/

First Ever Drive-Thru Dunmore Cemetery Tour

Participants in October’s annual Cemetery Tour sponsored by the Dearly Departed Players included, from row, from left: Laura Doyle and Julie Esty, tour director, with Maura Mark of United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA. Back row, same order: Jake Mozeleski, Crista Gaskill, Nelson Wood, Christine McGeachie, Roger Mattes, Amy Black, Leslie Kirchner and Wendy Belaski. Not pictured: S. Robert Powell and Kathy Sponenberg.

The Dearly Departed Players rolled through the cemetery with the first ever drive-thru edition of the Dunmore Cemetery Tour on Oct. 4.  With the tour beginning at 2 p.m., cars were lined up down Warren Street, past Dunmore  High School and out to Quincy Avenue. Vehicles  also lined Church Street.  

A total of 170 cars went through before The Players got a very slight lull, then the procession started up again in force and continued until 4 p.m.  At least 350 cars went through, each car averaging between two and four people in each.  The drive through tour took almost 25 minutes to complete.

Participants were given a copy of the guidebook, “Who’s Who in the Dunmore Cemetery.”  With this guide book, participants were able to drive through the cemetery and learn about 12 cemetery “residents” and their historical significance.  Following the tour, they could use the guidebook, compiled by tour director, Julie Esty, to take a walking or drive-through tour at their leisure.  

The cemetery was decorated with corn stalks, harvest wreaths and scarecrows. In addition, Space Time Mead and Cider Works, Jerry’s for all Seasons, Dunmore Federation of Teachers, Lackawanna Historical Society, Carlucci – Golden- DeSantis Funeral Home, Miller Bean Funeral Home and Steven’s Wreaths donated decorations or sponsored and decorated a mausoleum or gravesite with harvest decor.  

Due to a sizable donation of fall flowers by the Dollar Store, 30 bouquets of flowers were assembled and laid at the gravesites of 30 Civil War soldiers buried in the Civil War section of the cemetery.  

The Dearly Departed Players were also assisted by Dunmore Mayor Timothy Burke and the Dunmore Police Department.  Gertrude Hawk Chocolates and PS Advertising  also contributed to the tour.  As always, Sam Quinn and the employees of the Dunmore Cemetery did a top notch job with the maintenance of the cemetery grounds.

Spaced throughout the cemetery, the Dearly Departed Players assisted the procession  through the cemetery.  Each Player reported numerous positive comments and thank you’s from the public for continuing  the annual event. The Players also reported that some tour attendees got back in line immediately following their first trip through the cemetery to take the tour again.

Suggested tour admission was the donation of non-perishable food items for Feed-a-Friend.  At the end of the tour Players reported that almost every collection barrel was overflowing with donations.  

Tour director Julie Esty stated, “We adapted, the public adapted.  It worked well and it was a joy to see everyone.  Good things happen in the cemetery! We will see everyone again in 2021!”

Drive-Through Dunmore Cemetery Tour Set for Next Month

cemetery tour1

Karl Barbee and Julie Esty of the Dearly Departed Players are getting ready for the 2020 Dunmore Cemetery Tour. Attendees are asked to bring a donation for the Feed-a-Friend collection, which is especially vital during this pandemic.

Despite many obstacles, and due to the determination of Julie Esty and her cast of Dearly Departed Players, the Dunmore Cemetery Tour 2020 will take place this year on Oct. 4.

Due to Covid-19 and social distancing, the tour this year will be in drive-through format with tour attendees remaining in their vehicles. As of now, the tour is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m., beginning on the Dunmore High School side of the cemetery on Warren Street.

“Doing the tour in this format and adapting for distancing has been a challenge,” Ms. Esty concedes. “Our initial inclination was to cancel, but we know there are people  who are going to need the Feed-a-Friend donations that we collect at the cemetery gate. Also,The Players would really miss seeing everyone. So, we adapted as best we could. It is our sincere hope that our audience will adapt with us this year.”

The logistics are unusual. “The Dunmore Police Department and the Dunmore Mayor’s Office assured us we would have the cooperation and help we need to make this event happen and we are so grateful,” Julie says. “Tour attendees are advised to check the Dunmore Cemetery Tour page on Facebook for any updates to the current information.”

Attendees will be given a program/tour route/map and “Fast Facts” on some notable cemetery residents. The Dearly Departed Players will help attendees along the way. In essence – it will be one long procession through the cemetery. When the drive-through tour is finished – audience members will be able to come back at any time and do the tour at their leisure by either walking or driving.

cemetery tour2

Due to Covid-19 and social distancing, this year’s tour will be in drive-through format with attendees remaining in their vehicles.

Some local businesses and organizations have volunteered to make the cemetery look a bit festive with fall decorations of wreaths and pumpkins. They include Space Time Mead and Cider Works, Carlucci Golden and Desantis, Lackawanna Historical Society, Miller Bean Funeral Home, and Steven’s Wreaths Galore and Much More helping us in the endeavor.

PS Advertising Specialty Company is also working on what attendees are going to need to get them through this tour. 

“As always, a huge thank you goes out to the staff and Board of the Dunmore Cemetery,” Ms. Esty notes.

The Feed–a-Friend donation barrels will be set up at the tour entrance on tour day.  Audience members will be able to drop their donations in before they start on their ride through the cemetery.  

“The Players sincerely cannot wait to see everyone. If we make it  — we will be one of the few events that did make it in this very difficult year.  Wish us luck!” Julie says.

If any other local businesses would like to help dress the cemetery up with pumpkins, wreaths  or mums, or if you need more information, please contact Julie at 570-344-3819.  

No reservations are necessary for the tour.