Thank you to all the folks who brought new life into the Ithaca City Cemetery by enjoying our family-friendly October 2019 events! Your participation helps revitalize traditions from our past when cemeteries were vital spaces for the living. In previous centuries families picnicked, couples strolled, and children played in the cemetery, showing respect for the dead by incorporating them into their lives.

Cinema in the Cemetery

Cinema in the Cemetery_smallerCinema in the Cemetery2_smaller“In the era that this cemetery was created, . . . it was not a place set aside purely for sorrow and grief. It was a place to celebrate life. I think bringing people to the cemetery for a fun evening with family is in line with that,” commented Ithaca City Forester Jeanne Grace after the well-attended Cinema in the Cemetery event on Friday, October 11. The evening featured a screening of a Wharton Studio’s silent film short provided by the Wharton Studio Museum and Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, along with cider and donut treats provided by Littletree Orchards.

“All of our activities in the Ithaca City Cemetery are designed to bring awareness of the cemetery’s historic and cultural significance to the larger Ithaca community, with the aim of inviting the public’s participation–as a volunteer conservator, a donor, etc.–so it can be “enjoyed” in the nineteenth-century understanding of the word,” notes Friends of Ithaca City Cemetery co-founder Julee Johnson. “Everything we do is in furtherance of that goal.”

Many thanks to Jeanne Grace, Julee Johnson, Ellen Leventry, Wharton Studio Museum’s Diana Riesman, Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce‘s Dominick Recckio, Littletree Orchards, and sponsor Purity Ice Cream for making this fun event possible.

Cemetery Sprint

Cemetery Sprint Timed Runner 10192019_smaller

The early-morning clouds cleared and the sun shone on the 6th annual Cemetery Sprint on Saturday, October 19. Runners, walkers, and strollers challenged themselves on the winding, steep paths through the greenspace on the beautiful October day. The top three finishers of the Timed Run received gravestone-like plaques hand-lettered by Historic Ithaca volunteer Ashley Miller, along with gift certificates provided by prize sponsors The Gym–Ithaca, Significant Elements, Ithaca Family Chiropractic, and Massage Station. Adults and kids won gift certificates to Historic Urban Plans and Purity Ice Cream for best costumes, and everyone enjoyed treats donated by Emmy’s Organics, Wegmans, and Michael Mazourek.

Thank you to the “village” that made the event possible: Historic Ithaca staff, including Christine O’Malley, Susan Holland, Sara Johnson, Peter Walz, Suzanne Onodera, with Work Preserve participants Jacob and Michael, and Pat Longoria; volunteers Julee Johnson, Ellen Leventry, Jeanne Grace, Nancy Brcak, Bill Brauninger, Orion Peck, Emily Levin, Nina Oelynikov, and Ashley Miller; and Bangs Ambulance for providing stand-by emergency personnel.

Ithaca City Cemetery Tours

And, finally, a very big thank you to all of you who came out for two weekends of historic tours at the Ithaca City Cemetery, October 19-20 and October 26-27. All the folks who explored the cemetery on Historic Ithaca’s guided tours can tell you that fall is a glorious time to visit and hear the many stories associated with the people and groups memorialized there. Your continued interest in and respect for the people and the history they represent help preserve this beautiful greenspace and historic site. Thank you to tour docents Christine O’Malley, Pat Longoria, and Tompkins County Heritage Ambassador Cinnamon Mittan for sharing their appreciation for the people and landscape, and Susan Holland for registration and treat support.

Your participation in all of these events supports Historic Ithaca’s and Friends of the Ithaca City Cemetery’s ongoing preservation work in the cemetery. Thank you! Support cemetery preservation at any time of the year by designating “Friends of the Ithaca City Cemetery” in the Comments box when you give online.


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