Another successful season for Dearly Departed Players

The Dearly Departed Players returned to the Dunmore Cemetery for another successful year of historical walking tours with almost 700 people in attendance for tours on Oct. 2 and 9.  

Under the direction of Julie Esty, The Dearly Departed Players relayed stories of some of the cemetery residents. The theme of the tour this year addressed some of the struggles experienced over the last two years due to the pandemic.  But, in usual Dearly Departed Player fashion, some lighthearted moments won the day and  the tours ended with messages of hope.  

The cemetery was decorated in a harvest theme thanks to the Dearly Departed Players, Lackawanna Historical Society, Space Time Mead and Cider, Carlucci Golden DeSantis Funeral Home, Gertrude Hawk, Scranton Films, CaPAA/Ritz Theater, and Kim Bochicchio.  

According to Esty, the harvest decor has expanded the reach of the two-day event. The harvest décor attracted visitors to drive through the cemetery in the week between the tours to view the décor.  A number of families were noted using  the décor for family photos.  

In 2019 The Dearly Departed Players assisted descendants of Merrill’s Marauder’s in obtaining a Congressional Gold Medal for the famed fighters who battled fearlessly in World War II. The Dunmore Cemetery is the final rest of Robert Nicholson, a member of the legendary group of soldiers. A high point of the tours this year was the attendance of Marauder Nicholson’s 76-year-old son, John Nicholson of Hopatcong, NJ.  His father’s service was recognized during the Oct. 2 tour. 

Esty stated that after two years of drive-through tours due to the pandemic,the Players were glad to be back in the cemetery and seeing their wonderful audience  in person once again.  

Tours for 2022 are over but the Dearly Departed Players will return to the Dunmore Cemetery next year on the first two Sundays in October for an all new tour.

Annual cemetery tour to set to return in October

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.

Drive-Through Dunmore Cemetery Tour Draws Huge Crowds

By Julie Etsy

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.