Spirit Tales and Local Legends will return with a live performance when SUNY Oswego’s Storytelling Class presents the 6th Annual Oswego Town Rural Cemetery: Ghost and History Storytelling Tour at 6:00 p.m. Friday, October 29.
Led by Professor Jonel Langenfeld of Oswego Theater School, costumed performers bring the stories of local historical figures to life at this free family event.
Performers will tell the stories of college founder Edward Austin Sheldon; Dr. Mary Walker, a local pioneer in women’s rights and the only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor; Harriet Tubman, heroine of the Underground Railroad; Queen Lili’uokalni Kamaka’eha (and her Oswego connection to Walker); Saint Marianne Cope; Chief Pontiac; namesake of the Lida Penfield University Library; and much more. This year will see the addition of a few new people, including Dr. Richard Shineman and Audrey Munson (sometimes known as the “first supermodel”).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone and not being able to offer a live cemetery tour last year was a disappointment,” Langenfeld said. “However, we are very happy to be able to resume the live tour this year.”
Presenters ask attendees to follow safety protocols and wear a mask if they or a member of their group is unvaccinated.
“I am very proud of the students in the storytelling class and their passion for sharing the stories of famous and less famous historical figures residing in this cemetery and others,” said Langenfeld, who teaches the interdisciplinary course. “The students had a great time researching this area where they go to school. They learned a lot about Oswego, the college, the people, the area and its history. »
This year will see a new collaboration with Candis Haak from SUNY Oswego’s history faculty and her “Death, Data and Local Cemeteries” course.
The event will take place rain or shine. It is recommended that attendees arrive by 5:30 p.m. at the secure parking lot at the Town of Oswego Rural Cemetery – 242 Cemetery Road in Oswego – or be dropped off in time to ensure an on-time performance.
This is a walking tour, so participants should plan appropriately: Dress warmly, wear appropriate footwear, and bring a flashlight and umbrella in case of rain.
Admission is free and sponsored by the Oswego Town Historical Society. Langenfeld gave special thanks to Oswego city historian George DeMass, a SUNY Oswego alumnus in 1966.