The Dearly Departed Players will return to a walking tour this year for the annual tour at Dunmore Cemetery to be held on Sundays Oct. 2 and 9. Tours will start promptly at 2 p.m. and run about 90 minutes. Comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Admission is free. For information, call 570-344-3819.
The Dearly Departed Players will be in the cemetery with a new round of people from the past, including both serious and humorous moments planned.
For the past two years, the COVID pandemic forced the Players to refashion the tour so attendees could drive through the cemetery, so there is excitement about returning to the original walking format.
In addition to the tour, there will be a premiere of Luz Cabrales and Scranton Films award-winning Dunmore Cemetery Tour documentary on Friday, Sept. 30, at St. Lucy’s Parish Hall in Scranton. There will be some nice activities going on from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a showing of the documentary at 7 o’clock. Admission for that is $5 and refreshments will be served.
The tour was an tremendous success. At least 300 cars went through on Oct. 3 and significantly more went through on Oct. 11. And – just like with the walking tours – they came from all over. We could tell by the license plates, and we asked. So, it’s significant tourism for Dunmore.
The cemetery was decorated beautifully in a harvest theme. The autumn adornment for the cemetery included pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, banners, gold and silver pumpkin totems, wreaths, scarecrows. and ghosts.
The Lackawanna Historical Society, Space Time, Scranton Films, CaPaa at the Ritz Theater, Dunmore High School Crimson Company, Carlucci-Golden-DeSantis, Miller Bean Funeral Home, Pour Boys Pub, and a number of private citizens sponsored graves and mausoleums and decorated them. Gertrude Hawk Chocolates contributed a coupon for a discount on a purchase.
The Dearly Departed Players were stationed throughout the cemetery. Everything moved along beautifully. Cemetery tour and cemetery activity books were distributed to those in attendance.
We even had a local nursing home bring a van filled with their residents who we were told enjoyed their trip through the cemetery. We also had people let us know that they had to attend a funeral in the cemetery and the harvest decorations were a great comfort.
Griffin Pond Animal Shelter was on hand collecting non-perishable items for the pet shelter and they did a terrific job. They filled two vans — and those vans were really packed with pet supplies.
I was out in the cemetery days before the tour decorating the place on my own. I got so much peace out of it, going from mausoleum to mausoleum, putting a wreath on every door. The weather was beautiful, so it made for a nice day out. It is rewarding to hear how much the regular cemetery walkers and tour attendees enjoyed the decorations.
As you can see from our photographs, we really covered a lot of time periods this year! The whole atmosphere changes with the harvest decor. We reached folks on so many different levels and really showcased the cemetery as an open air museum and community friendly space.
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.
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.