Since there was such a growing problem in cemetery vandalism, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery and Illinois Voices Theatre decided to solve that problem.
They came up with an event that educates the public on the preservation of cemeteries and teaches about the individuals who are buried.
Candace Summers is the director of education at the McLean County Museum of History and the lead coordinator for Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.
“Twenty-five years ago when we started this event it was a call to action to hopefully educate the public to stop that vandalism,” Summers said.
Since the implementation of the program, vandalism is almost nonexistent at Evergreen Cemetery.
The week before Sunday’s event State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) gave a special proclamation in honor of the 25-year anniversary.
At the event, volunteers of Evergreen Cemetery put guests into group numbers and guided them around, giving the public information about burial and the individuals.
Summers works with about 40 to 50 volunteers that put in well over 1,000 hours combined.
Guests got to see six different performances and listen to six different stories from McLean County’s past.
“It was a great way to kick off the event; as people are touring the cemetery, they are going to hear information about this event and what its 25 years have done to help promote preservation of cemeteries and promote local history,” Summers said.
“I think it’s because we have such passionate people and also because our school is here in the community and find its really important for their students to participate in this,” she continued.
Approximately 200 students and over 3,500 people have come to date. The event has showcased over 179 individuals from all walks of life.
“This event helps to show that cemeteries aren’t scary like every Halloween movie portrays [them] to be,” Summers said. “It’s a place of beauty and gives students a chance to learn about the past.”