Cemetery Tour this weekend

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

With fall officially here, the days getting a little bit shorter and Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to stroll through a cemetery in the dark.

Well, maybe not for everyone. But the past few years have shown that a large number of people love to do it in McDonough, and because of that a local arts organization has been able to have a solid impact in the community.

The McDonough Arts Council’s annual cemetery tour is scheduled for Oct. 22-23, operating 6-10 p.m. Saturday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday. This gives attendees, who begin the tour by assembling at Richard Craig Park, the option of going in daylight, at dusk or in the dark.

“Some people just aren’t comfortable touring the cemetery in the dark,” said Jea Gackowski, president of the McDonough Arts Council board. “Because of the high demand, we are bringing back the Sunday tours we had done in the past.”

This event is the biggest fundraiser for the council, which hosts art shows and other events throughout the year.

“We’ve given away, because of the generosity of those who come to this and other events, $41,000 since 2011,” said Gackowski, adding that one hundred percent of that money goes to art, music and drama teachers in Henry County’s schools.

The setup location at Richard Craig Park means there is plenty of parking, and guests can enjoy live music and face painting for kids while waiting for tours to begin.

One change this year is the option of purchasing tickets at the park if unable to get them in advance (they are available at all Moye’s Pharmacy locations). Anyone buying a ticket at the gate can simply wait until a group of 20 forms and go right in, so there is no requirement for a specific reserved time. That added flexibility is also a response to high demand, Gackowski said.

At various stops on the tour, guests will visit with “spirits” sharing creepy stories. These are actually a handful of actors portraying real people who are buried in the cemetery.

“This tour is part history and part mystery,” said Gackowski. “Tour guests will have a unique experience that is centered on cold cases and other unsolved investigations that have occurred right here in Henry County.”

Tickets are $10 per person.

For more information about the McDonough Arts Council, visit www.mcdonougharts.net