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Historic cemetery tour a success in Henry

People from throughout the Southern Crescent area gathered among hundreds of headstones, recently, to hear tales of Henry County’s past.

The Spirits of McDonough City Cemetery Tour was held last weekend, at the McDonough Cemetery on Macon Street. Eleven actors portrayed the “spirits” of people who lived during the Civil War, and are buried in Henry.

“This allowed us to use performing art in a historical format, to tell a chronological story of the county,” said tour organizer, Judy Neal, with the McDonough Arts organization, which coordinated the Oct. 22, event. “We sold 381 tickets, and for an inaugural event, we thought that was great. I think it will only grow from there.”

Sponsors for the tour included: Willett Honda South, in Morrow; Bellamy Strickland Chevrolet; Harding Plumbing, and Cannon Cleveland Funeral Directors, all in McDonough; Henry Medical Center, in Stockbridge, and the Smith Welch Webb & White law firm, in McDonough.

The Henry Players also sponsored the event, and was represented by Kathryn Wood, who portrayed one of 11 “spirits” on the tour — actors who took on the roles of various figures from Henry County’s early years, from the Revolutionary War forward.

Other performers were Jeff Reeves, Henry County Tax Commissioner David Curry, State Court Judge Ben Studdard, and Juvenile Court Judge A.J. Welch.

Neal added that, during the tour, professional musician, David Ellis, could be heard playing his violin, to set the mood for the occasion. She said McDonough Arts members received a number of positive comments following the tour, as well as thank-you notes, and requests to put the event together again in 2012.

“Tourism is increasingly becoming a major focus of economic development at all levels — federal, state and local,” said Henry County Chamber President Kay Pippin.

As a result of tourism, which includes the cemetery tour, $187 million has been spent in the county to day, according to officials with the Chamber.

“It’s already been approved by the McDonough Arts Board to have this event again next year,” said Neal. “It is obvious that the Spirits of McDonough City Cemetery Tour struck a nerve of good memories for those who attended.

For more information, visit www.mcdonougharts.net.