The City of Eustis (that’s where I live) is celebrating it’s 125th birthday with events all year.

We kicked off the year with the symphony in the park and followed up with an antique boat and car show, had our parade rained on (literally) for Georgefest to celebrate Washington’s birthday and just kicked off our cemetery tours.

How did we decide upon cemetery tours?  During the first brainstorming meeting of the 125th Birthday Committee (how did I get roped in to joining the committee?  I can’t remember that far back!) I suggested cemetery tours.  That’s when the committee voted that I’d be the best person to organize them.

Sometimes, it’s best to keep your mouth shut.

I’m very lucky that our 125th Birthday committee has some of the most dedicated volunteers available anywhere!  Every person I asked to dress in costume for the tours was receptive, which explains the group in the photo above.  From left to right, they are:  William Murphy, Tracy Murphy, Liz Morton, George Shneiger, Karen LeHeup-Smith, Sharron Semento, Betty Ann McClellan, Susan Trewyn, Marcia Arnold and me (Tim Totten).

On each of our first two tour dates, we had 15 members of the public taking part while I shared the history of the cemetery and the founding of the city.  As we went from grave to grave, costumed volunteers stepped forward to tell stories about the individuals who helped shape the early history of Eustis.

Later, we stepped into the 1920’s with our “flapper girl”, Marcia Arnold.  She told us about the roaring twenties in Eustis and Senator William Monroe Igou, who’s buried near this beautiful, Art Deco-style marker:

 We even visited folks from the fifties and sixties and heard about former Eustis police chief Jesse Burrow from a flower child who may have had a few run-ins with the straight-laced police chief.

The response to our first two tours was awesome.  I’ve even got a few attendees who have volunteered to help with the next tour, which is Saturday, April 26 at 4:30 pm.

Who knew that walking through a field of dead people would be so much fun?

Wooden footboards in Greenwood Cemetery, Eustis, Florida.

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