5th Annual Oak Hill Cemetery Tour set for Oct. 24
From Special Reports
Encounter and engage with those from Newnan’s past during the 5th Annual Oak Hill Cemetery Tour, “Hallowed Ground,” 4-7 p.m. Oct. 24, 2020. Also this year, virtual tours using a personal device are an option for Oct. 23 & Oct. 30. All three tour dates include dinner, live music and a tour of the cemetery.
In this interactive, immersive experience of Oak Hill Cemetery, on Saturday, 10/24 actors enthrall guests with lively, engaging tales of Newnan’s rich past. Tours depart every 20 minutes from nearby Dunc’s BBQ Kitchen where ticket holders enjoy dinner and a performance by the New Orleans style jazz band, Mayhayley’s Grave. On the virtual tour Friday nights, 10/23 & 10/30, guests have dinner and hear tunes performed live by Jimmy Bass or The DiPlacidos. The 2020 tour benefits food pantry Bridging The Gap and rehab support Coweta F.O.R.C.E.
Steve Duncan, owner of Dunc’s BBQ Kitchen says, “We love being in Newnan and celebrating this fantastic town. This a fun, engaging and safe way to get folks out for a fall evening outdoors. We look forward to making this a memorable night for everyone and especially for being able to raise money for two very worthwhile local non-profits that I personally think do tremendous work.”
The Oak Hill Cemetery Tour focuses on Newnan residents of the 19th and 20th centuries. Featured graves in the 2020 tour include: The matriarch and patriarch of the Cole family portrayed by Melissa and Dean Jackson; Dr. W.A. Huffaker, laid to rest in 1908 and portrayed by Mr. Robert Seymour; representatives from the Farmer St. and Pauper Cemeteries performed by Taj Stephens and Joe Arnotti; pandemic victims of the early 20th century by Frankie Hardin; and a certain well-known clairvoyant makes a guest appearance courtesy of Dawn Campion. Other unique experiences in this “Hallowed Ground” tour include song and graceful movement, plus a few more intriguing surprises.
2020 Oak Hill Cemetery Tour Director Larisa Scott notes, “This tour grows in popularity each year. People so look forward to it. In this 5th year of producing the event it’s a thrill to work with Dunc’s BBQ again. They are sponsoring the event along with other partners and will provide a delicious meal for tour-goers as well as a place outside of their restaurant to spread out and enjoy live music.”
After checking in at the parking lot behind Dunc’s BBQ Kitchen and connecting with an assigned tour guide, guests enter the cemetery through a gate across the street. Local humorist Joanna Webster with pen name “Lee St. John” is the 2020 Gate Keeper. Posed as a sassy cemetery contessa, she will open the tour with a brief history of Oak Hill. Additional performers include dancers with Southern Arc Dance, local musician John McGee, and others. This educational event is a unique opportunity for ticket holders to experience Oak Hill in a dynamic way.
Tickets for the “In-Person” tour night (10/24) include a BBQ Dinner from Dunc’s catering tent, a guided tour of the cemetery and the Mayhayley’s Grave music experience. This is a family friendly event; however, it is not recommended for very young children.
Tickets on the “Virtual” tour evenings (10/23 & 10/30) include live music at Dunc’s by Jimmy Bass and The DiPlacidos respectively, a BBQ Dinner from Dunc’s catering tent, and a virtual tour of the cemetery using a personal hand held device.
While the tour takes place in the month of Halloween, the tone and atmosphere will remain one of respect and reverence. By highlighting Newnan’s Oak Hill cemetery, the stories of the deceased are perpetuated and the memory of these former citizens celebrated. “The event brings life to a historic area of town that has much to explore,” says Scott.
The guided walking tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and begins and ends in the parking lot at Dunc’s BBQ Kitchen. Mayhayley’s Grave, Jimmy Bass and The DiPlacidos will play in the parking lot to the right of the restaurant. Tickets for the in-person tour are $30 for adults and $20 for children age 12 and younger. Space on 10/24 is limited so please book early. Virtual tour tickets for 10/23 & 10/30 are $20 for adults and $15 for children. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.com (link below), by visiting Dunc’s BBQ Kitchen at 98 Jackson St., in the Coweta County Courthouse CVB office (Welcome Center), Morgan’s Jewelers Downtown or Vinylyte Records also downtown on the square. For more information call 678-416-3121 or 404-290-8174.