Next Wednesday, the dead will walk and talk at .
That sounds scary, but don’t worry. It’s just the ’s annual cemetery walk, and as Debbie Buchanan tells it, the event is meant to educate, not terrify.
It’s the third year of the cemetery walk, said Buchanan, executive assistant to the village manager, and the audience has grown each year. More than 100 people showed up for the debut event, in 2009, and 225 trekked out to Riverside for the 2010 edition.
“This year, we started getting calls this summer,” Buchanan said. “We’re hoping for a good turnout and good weather.”
What is a cemetery walk? The idea behind it, Buchanan said, is that everyone buried at Riverside has a story to tell. The village’s Historical Preservation Commission finds actors to portray some of those people, and tell some of those stories. Actors dress in period clothes, and tell their tales by the gravestones of the people they are playing.
Last year, Buchanan said, Gary Beyer portrayed his great-grandfather Frederick Beyer, a Civil War veteran. And in 2009, the son of former Montgomery mayor P.O. Douglas played his father.
This year, there will be seven actors at four gravestones—one site will have two actors, playing a husband and wife, and another will have three, she said.
Buchanan is keeping this year’s portrayals secret, but she did offer a few clues.
“I can tell you that one of them died in a tragedy, one was a business owner who fought in the Civil War, and one was a millionaire,” she said.
The cemetery walk will begin at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5, and groups of 15 to 20 people will walk through every 10 minutes or so. The event runs until 8:30 p.m., and you can show up anytime—you don’t need to be there right at 7 p.m., Buchanan said.
The walk is fun for small children too, she said. But don’t forget to bring a flashlight, she added.
Should there be rain, the walk will be moved to Oct. 6 at the same time. The following week, on Oct. 11, the walk will be re-created at Village Hall at 10 a.m. for seniors and those who cannot get to the cemetery.