October 14, 2022
Tales of local legends and spirits will return with a live performance when SUNY Oswego’s Storytelling Course presents Year 7 Oswego Town Rural Cemetery: Ghost and History Storytelling Tour at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29.
Professor Jonel Langenfeld from the SUNY Oswego Theater Department directs the costumed storytellers who bring the stories of local historical figures to life at 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 who live in this and other cemeteries,” said Langenfeld, who teaches the interdisciplinary course. “The students had a great time exploring this area they are studying in. You learned a lot 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 again present our collaboration with Candis Haak from the history department at SUNY Oswego and her course “Death, Dates and Local Cemeteries”.
Due to the popularity of the event, this year it will be presented in a two-part format to ensure the best possible guest experience and to protect the integrity of the cemetery grounds. The first act takes place from 4pm to 5pm under a tent where storytellers talk about how people are not buried in the cemetery. The audience splits into two groups for the second act, which includes the walking tour and trivia games. One group will walk while another 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 the “first supermodel”); and many more.
Admission is free; However, tickets are required. Email [email protected] to reserve a free admission ticket. Space is limited to 200 cards. Tickets contain important information, including the group the ticket holder belongs to during the second half of the show, and must be presented to enter the show.
Parking in the cemetery is only permitted for people with limited accessibility. Complimentary, mandatory on-campus parking is provided at the #8 commuter lot (right after entering the main campus entrance), along with complimentary bus transfers to and from the cemetery. There will be four bus loops running every 20 minutes from 2:40pm to 3:40pm before the show and 6:45pm to 7:45pm after the show. If you require accessibility, you must email [email protected] to reserve limited parking space.
In support of the Oswego Town Historical Society, there will be a cash-only merchandise table at the cemetery. Langenfeld gave a special thank you to George DeMass, the City of Oswego historian who was a 1966 SUNY Oswego graduate.
The event is sponsored by the Oswego Town Historical Society and the SUNY Oswego Theater and History Departments.