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. 

THIS MONTH: Dunmore Cemetery Tour

Dearly Departed

The Dearly Departed Players will present an all-new tour at the Dunmore Cemetery on Sundays, Oct. 6 and 13, at 2 p.m.

Visitors should arrive early to see exhibits, including VNA Hospice and Home Health of Lackawanna County; Albright Memorial Library, and Scranton Reads. VNA Hospice is exhibiting because their founder, Mrs. Henry Martyn Boies, is buried in the cemetery.

Once again the Dearly Departed Players are partnering with United Neighborhood Centers and  Feed-a-Friend. Admission to the tour is free but the group does ask for a non-perishable donation for that organization.

The tour will take about 2-½ hours.  Comfortable walking shoes are suggested. No reservations are required. 

The tour is researched, written, costumed and directed by Julie Esty — now in her 22nd year of doing tours in the cemetery in one form or another. 

Many of the Dearly Departed Players are now in their 17th year of tours, plus there are some wonderful new cast members this year. The Players are the recipients of a Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Grant.

For more information please call 570-344-3819.

Eighth Graders Tour Dunmore Cemetery

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Eighth grade students from Dunmore toured Dunmore Cemetery on Sept. 27. Members of the Dearly Departed Players, including Julie Esty, Colonel James Patterson, Wendy Belaski, and S. Robert Powell from the Carbondale Historical Society, presented background information.

Wendy Belaski enlightened students about cemetery art, symbolism, etiquette and customs. Afterwards, the students, numbering around 100, visited the Dunmore Historical Society.

Teachers participating included Kim Ahern, Celine Carlier, Sara Worozbyt, Ryan Ehnot, Nabiha Garraoui and Kim Deprimo Bochicchio.