Van Buren will hold its 12th annual Tales of the Crypt presentation in October at the historic Fairview Cemetery.
Continuous tours will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. Admission will be $3 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under.
Offsite parking, with trolley shuttle service to and from the cemetery, will be available at Freedom Park next to the depot in downtown Van Buren with pick up at the corner of Cane Hill and Main Street.
All proceeds from this program will be used for the preservation of historic monuments within the cemetery.
Tales of the Crypt will feature five portrayals, including David C. Matlock, War of 1812 soldier; William Worth Bailey, blind violin virtuoso; John Steward, Confederate soldier and sheriff; Esther Shibley, wife of William Henry Harrison Shibley; and Ann Elizabeth Pryor Dibrell, first wife of Dr. James A. Dibrell Sr.
All are buried in Fairview Cemetery and will be portrayed by volunteer actors.
Fairview Cemetery, located between McKibben and Poplar streets on Arkansas 59, approximately three city blocks north of Van Buren’s historic district, is the final resting place for many of the early settlers of the area.
In 1837, John Drennen donated 10 acres to establish a cemetery. However, prior to this donation, the land had already been used as a burial spot with the earliest marked grave dating back to 1816.
Fairview Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 1, 2005. Being on the National Register qualifies Fairview Cemetery for funds from the Arkansas Historical Preservation Program for the preservation of the very old monuments at the cemetery. Fairview was annexed into the Van Buren Historic District in 2007.
According to Randy Smith, the appointed liaison between the city of Van Buren and the Van Buren Historic District Commission, the Wallace children’s commemorative monument was restored with a preservation grant in 2007. A second successful preservation grant was awarded in 2013 to the City of Van Buren to restore six badly damaged Victorian Era monuments.
An additional four monuments were restored with city funds and another with proceeds from the 2013 production of Tales of the Crypt. A third successful option 3 Historic Restoration and Preservation Grant was awarded to Fairview in 2015 to cover the cost of five vandalized monuments at Fairview, in addition to five other monuments restored with city funds.
Tales of the Crypt has helped to restore a total of 11 monuments.
Tales of the Crypt is a volunteer effort led by the Van Buren Historic District and area students. The event is sponsored in part by the City of Van Buren, Van Buren Historic District Commission, Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission and Edwards Van-Alma Funeral Home.
For more information, call Randy Smith,479-474-5081, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.