Thursday, August 12, 2010
Cemeteries Hold Parties to Die For
In a marketing move that has drawn some criticism, graveyards across the nation are opening their grounds to concerts and clowns, barbecues and dance performances. The goal: to nurture warm feelings about the cemetery, in hopes that folks who come to cheer sky-divers today will return in more somber tomorrows.
A few cemeteries have been doing such outreach for years. Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles draws thousands to summertime films projected on mausoleum walls. Michigan Memorial Park in Flat Rock, Mich., has long invited disabled children to fishing derbies held at a serene pond amid the headstones. Davis Cemetery in Davis, CA, plans poetry workshops, bird walks and art shows. Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, NE, hosts a Shakespeare festival and rents its quaint chapel for weddings. In Wheat Ridge, CO, Olinger Crown Hill Cemetery staged a Memorial Day party with fireworks and sky divers.
Still, "there's always a tension between mourners…and picnickers," says Jeff Richman, a historian at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y. In the 1850s, the cemetery had its own police force to keep the two groups apart. One must be respectful.
One of my favorite cemeteries is Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA. So many famous San Francisco Bay Area folks buried there. Besides walking tours, this cemetery holds a flower show every year, as well as having one of the best outdoor tulip displays. The Julia Morgan Chapel (Morgan is buried at Mountain View) is a breath-taking example of her architecture. Halloween eve brings neighbor children and families together for a spooky evening of readings and fun in this fabulous venue! And, the Fourth Annual Pumpkin Festival will be held this year on October 30 with a fun-filled pumpkin patch meadow, games and treats.
Love to hear if you've ever used a cemetery for a teambuilding or special event.
Read the WSJ Article HERE.