The Harvest Moon Cemetery Tour will take brave travelers through historic, scenic Forest Hill Cemetery this weekend to hear tales of Fredonia's founders and the place where they now reside. There are stories to excite, amaze and unnerve even the most enlightened history buff.
On Friday and Saturday, Festivals Fredonia - noted for its "Ghost Tours"- will host horse-drawn trolley tours every half hour through the cemetery. The tours begin at 7 and run until 10 p.m. The trolleys will load passengers at the Gazebo in Barker Commons Park on West Main Street and return to the same area. Last year the trolley tours sold out.
Forest Hill Cemetery, adjacent to Pioneer Cemetery with its origins in the early 19th century, is in many ways a time capsule of the town's history. Forest Hill Cemetery is still an active cemetery where the dearly departed are placed for final rest each day, as they have been for almost 200 years. From monuments commemorating founders' families, Fredonia's national heroes, Revolutionary, Union and Confederate soldiers, and artists, to entrepreneurs and industrialists who also gained wide recognition, each turn in the cemetery's pathways uncovers stories that should not remain a secret.
Find out more about the residents of the Forest Hill Cemetery on the Harvest Moon Cemetery Tour, held in?Fredonia this Friday and Saturday evenings.
Ever wonder how the tallest monument in the cemetery found its way from the quarry to its resting place, in one piece (not something to take for "granite")? Or why is there a large oval pattern within the cemetery? How about the "hauntings" as a result of the Normal School fire, the notorious hanging of Joseph Damon that failed - once - or the sightings and cries of those who died too young? For nearly 200 years Forest Hill has been a place for souls at "rest," souls who have "gone home" and some who aren't quite sure yet.
The tour winds its way through the dark cemetery, through heroes, founding members and some of the most notoriously scary villains. This year, join Lt. Colonel Alonzo Cushing, portrayed by Town Historian Todd Langworthy, as the knowledgeable guide on the tours departing at 7, 8, 9 or 10 p.m. Participants will also be captivated with the telling of the tales by noted Author Samuel L. Clemens, as portrayed by Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe, on the tours at 7:30, 8:30 or 9:30 p.m.
The tour is recommended for those ages 8 and up, but on occasion even some of the local residents from Forest Hill older than 108 often enjoy joining in for the tours. The tales and atmosphere of the ride are in keeping with the season, as are the refreshments, which are provided by The Buster Brown Bean Company. Psychic readings will be done by Dennis Morley after the tour for a nominal fee.
Reservations are required and seating is limited on the trolleys. Call 1-888-414-4818 or 672-4818 to get the details and make reservations. The cost for tickets is $12.50 which includes refreshments.
If interested in becoming a volunteer, donating time with Harvest Moon Cemetery Tours as "characters, actors, ghosts and wandering spirits," contact event chair Mary Jane Starks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 680-2844.
To learn more, visit www.festivalsfredonia.com or find Festivals Fredonia on Facebook. Festivals Fredonia is a volunteer organization in partnership with the Village of Fredonia, the Town of Pomfret, area merchants and volunteers. The organization operates as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing quality events and entertainment for the community and supporters, and is always interested in new volunteers or event sponsors.