Storytelling school

Ghost and History Storytelling Tour returns October 29

Tales of Local Legends and Spirits will return with a live performance when SUNY Oswego’s Storytelling Class presents the 7th Annual Town of Oswego Rural Cemetery: Ghost Tales and History Tour at 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 29.

Led by Professor Jonel Langenfeld of the Oswego Theater School, costumed performers bring the stories of local historical figures to life at this free family event. The new parking and transportation arrangements are a notable change (see below).

For the event, student 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; Dr. Richard Shineman; Audrey Munson (considered the “first model”) and many others.

“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. Students also learn the importance of understanding each other’s story.”

The event will again feature a collaboration with Candis Haak of SUNY Oswego History School and her course “Death, Data, and Local Graveyards.”

Admission is free and sponsored by the Oswego Town Historical Society and the Theater and History Departments of SUNY Oswego. Langenfeld gave special thanks to Oswego city historian George DeMass, a SUNY Oswego alumnus in 1966.

New arrangements, transport

Due to the overwhelming popularity and attendance, adjustments have been made to the production and attendance process to provide the best possible experience for guests while protecting the integrity of the cemetery grounds, Langenfeld said.

The performance now takes place on a Saturday instead of a Friday. It starts earlier and will run a little longer, to allow for a new two-stage structure: storytelling in the marquee from 4 to 5 p.m., then walking tour from 5.15 to 7.30 p.m. (in two groups; the group not in tour will be able to play local historical trivia games for prizes).

To help protect the integrity of the cemetery grounds and provide a better guest experience, no general parking will be permitted for the cemetery show except for those with accessibility needs. Parking will instead be at SUNY Oswego Commuter Lot 32 (first right after entering main entrance off Route 104) with free Centro bus transportation connecting the lot and the cemetery.

Buses will shuttle from the commuter lot to the cemetery beginning at 2:40 p.m. every 20 minutes until 3:40 p.m. Return buses from the cemetery will run from approximately 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

People with accessibility needs requiring parking at the cemetery should email [email protected] to reserve a parking space. On-site parking is limited.

Tickets are free, with advance reservations required through due to high demand. Only 200 tickets will be available, with walking tours capped at 100 each. The purchased ticket will contain important information about the tour participants, and tickets must be presented when checking in at the event.