JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Picnicking in a graveyard doesn’t appeal to most, but for some, it’ll be the perfect educational and spooky summer activity. A “Summer Social in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery” is scheduled for Aug. 12 from 6-8 p.m.
The event is hosted by the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia, and group leaders said cemetery hangouts used to be a regular pastime.
“It used to be a common thing for families and friends to gather in the cemetery and picnic, share stories of their loved ones, and relax,” said Heritage Alliance Executive Director Anne Mason.
“There was nothing odd about it. Cemeteries are sacred spaces, but they’re also public spaces, and we want people to come and tour the cemetery and learn more about the community they live in.”
Local tour guides and Heritage Alliance members will be in attendance wearing historically accurate clothing, sharing cemetery history and answering questions about the Rocky Hill and College Hill cemeteries.
A temporary marker unveiling will take place during the event, which commemorates those lost during a cholera epidemic in Jonesborough exactly 150 years ago, in July 1873. Those lost in the epidemic were buried in a mass grave, which was just re–discovered in March.
A release from the heritage alliance said ice cream will be available for $2 a scoop from MOM’s Ice Cream with Munchies on Main, and visitors can even hand-churn their own for an additional $2. All ice cream sales will directly benefit the preservation of the two cemeteries, according to the release.
The old cemetery is located a short walk from First Baptist Church, located at 201 East Main Street. Parking will be available at the church’s side lot, according to the release.
A shuttle will also be available throughout the evening. No parking is available at the cemetery.
More information can be found on the Heritage Alliance’s website.