Professor Jonel Langenfeld of SUNY Oswego’s theatre faculty directs the costumed storytellers as they bring the tales of local historical figures to life in this free, family-friendly event.
“I am very proud of the students in the storytelling class and their passion for sharing the stories of famous and not-so-famous historical figures residing in this and other cemeteries,” said Langenfeld, who teaches the interdisciplinary course. “The students have had a great time researching this area where they are going to school. They have learned a great deal about Oswego, the college, the people, the area and its history. Students also learn the importance of understanding everyone’s story.”
She added, “We will once again feature our collaboration with Candis Haak of the SUNY Oswego history faculty and her ‘Death, Data and Local Cemeteries’ course.”
Due to the popularity of the event, it will be presented in a two-part format this year to ensure the best possible guest experience and protect the integrity of the cemetery grounds. The first act will run from 4 to 5 p.m. under a tent where storytellers will talk about the people are not buried in the cemetery. The audience will break into two groups for the second act which features the walking tour and trivia games. One group will walk, while one other will participate in history trivia.
Throughout the event, guests will hear the stories of college founder Edward Austin Sheldon; Dr. Mary Walker, the local women’s rights pioneer and only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor; Underground Railroad hero Harriet Tubman; Queen Lili’uokalni Kamaka'eha (and her Oswego connection to Walker); Saint Marianne Cope; Chief Pontiac; Lida Penfield (college library namesake); Dr. Richard Shineman; Audrey Munson (considered to be the “first supermodel”); and many more.
Admission is free; however, tickets are required. Email [email protected] to reserve a free ticket. Space is limited to 200 tickets. Tickets will contain important information, including which group the ticket holder will be in during the second half of the show, and must be presented to enter the show.
Parking will not be permitted at the cemetery except for those who have accessibility needs. Free, mandatory, on-campus parking will be provided in commuter lot #8 (to the right after entering the main campus entrance), along with free bus transportation to and from the cemetery. There will be four bus loops which will run every 20 minutes from 2:40 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. before the show, and from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. following the show. Those will accessibility needs must email [email protected] to reserve a limited parking space.
There will be a cash-only merchandise table at the cemetery to support the Oswego Town Historical Society. Langenfeld offered a special thanks to Oswego Town Historian George DeMass, who is a 1966 SUNY Oswego alumnus.
The event is sponsored by the Oswego Town Historical Society and the SUNY Oswego Theatre and History Departments.