The Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau is teaming up with the Brown County Historical Society to offer some new events to make your Halloween experience even more haunting and fun!
The HCVB and Historical Society are offering two separate cemetery tours and a Paranormal Night at the Museum to “haunt up” your Halloween!
Historic Cemetery Tour and Spirits Awaken Cemetery Tour: The groups have collaborated to add two sets of Cemetery Tours — the afternoon of Oct. 12 and the evening of Oct. 19 — to help celebrate the 105th Hiawatha Halloween Frolic.
Lynn Allen, curator/director of the Historical Society and a member of the HCVB board said that on Saturday, Oct. 12, the day will begin with a light lunch at the Ag Museum, for a freewill offering for those who choose to come early and enjoy the historic farm atmosphere and windmill lane. Trolley tours are from 1-5 p.m., starting on the hour with 20 tickets available for each time slot — 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. with the last one starting at 4 p.m.
An additional event — a lantern-guided “Spirits Awaken Cemetery Tour” is set for the evening of Oct. 19 — with tour times starting up at 6 p.m. and continuing until 10 with trolleys leaving on the hour. Allen said that night, the Historical Society will be hosting a chili cookoff in the Carwell Building, starting at 5 p.m.
She said if the tours proves to be highly popular and times sell out, a second trolley and additional times will be added, so stay tuned for more information as the dates draw closer.
From the Ag Museum, the tours will proceed to Mt. Hope Cemetery, where participants might run into a few unexpected guests — “some of Hiawatha’s most beloved townspeople” from many years ago. From the Mt. Hope, the tour will travel through town to the Hiawatha Cemetery, where again, a few guests from Hiawatha’s past will be there to share their story with participants of the tour.
Allen said the historic re-enactments will be conducted by several local actors, including Nolan Sump, a seasoned living history performer. Since 2000, Sump has been a member of the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historic Performers, a coalition of historic performers who go across Kansas individually and conduct first-person presentations as the character they have researched, whether it be a first-person narrative of an actual historical figure, or a composite of the time period each represents.
Sump will also be featured at the Historical Society’s Heritage Days at the Ag Museum on Sept. 28.
While both tours will focus on the historic aspects of Mt. Hope and Hiawatha Cemetery, she said the Historical Society and Chamber want to include a little bit of a “haunted cemetery” aspect to the events — especially at night.
Allen said the cemetery tours are family friendly, however it is a recommendation for only school-age children and older to attend, due to the fact the historic aspects might not be as entertaining to very young children and there is a “mild spookiness” to the evening event on the 19th. She encouraged parents to plan accordingly and please contact the Chamber with questions. She said there would be some walking involved with both the afternoon and the evening event.
Allen said the cost of tickets are $15 each, with a percentage of the proceeds going back to the Hiawatha Cemetery District as a thank you for allowing this to happen and to help them with continued maintenance of Hiawatha’s wonderful cemeteries.
Paranormal Night at the Museum: Bumping it up a notch and definitely not for kids, this event is set for the evening of Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Brown County Historical Society’s Memorial Auditorium and museum in downtown Hiawatha.
Allen said 50 tickets are available for this event, which includes a catered dinner by Bibber BBQ of Hiawatha and is from 5-8 p.m. Participants will be able to visit with two paranormals that have been brought in specifically for this event at the museum. Following dinner will be a presentation in the auditorium and tours of the museum with the special paranormal guests.
Allen said this is a very special event that, while it might not be for everyone, definitely will set the mood for Hiawatha’s 105th Halloween Frolic “The Season of the Witch.”
She said tickets will be $45 for a single, or two for $80 and includes dinner. Only 50 tickets are available and she encouraged those interested to contact the Chamber soon. Due to the nature of the event, it is recommended only for people age 17 and older.
Tickets for all three events are on sale now at the Hiawatha Chamber office, 801 Oregon St., between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Anyone with questions or wanting to reserve a ticket can call (785) 742-7136 or email email@example.com. Find the HCVB on all social media at Hiawatha Halloween Frolic. Tickets will also be available at the upcoming Maple Leaf Festival.