The Mt. Olivet Cemetery Association invites the public to participate in its seventh annual All Saints’/Souls’ Day Celebration Sunday, October 29, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. The celebration is free and open to the public; you will want to bring a lawn chair and spend the day.
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day have been celebrated for thousands of years by cultures and religions around the world to honor deceased family members. Customs include lighting candles, offering prayers, cleaning and decorating of family members’ graves, and sharing food with friends and family.
The setting is historic Mt. Olivet Cemetery located at 2340 Fulton Avenue (Route T) in Hannibal, MO. The event’s activities begin at the cemetery chapel area at 2:00 p.m. Everyone is asked to join Pamela Reid-Wilde in the shadows of the beautiful, stained-glass windows as she plays all your favorite hymns on the chapel’s antique, pump-organ. Just outside the chapel, Michelle Goodman, Meryle Dexheimer, Regina Kinkaid, Jan Nemes, Patty Ward, Kathy Tourney, and Donna Brown, a local gospel group known as the Goldennaires of South Side Christian Church in the late 1960’s, will reunite to host an old-fashioned gospel sing.
The memorial balloon release, sponsored by the James O’Donnell Funeral Home, is always the highlight of the day. Jimmy O’Donnell says, “Our goal is to celebrate the lives of those who have passed while providing comfort and healing to family and friends.” Those interested in the balloon release are asked to meet at the chapel area between 2:00 and 2:30 to personalize a balloon tag in honor of their loved ones. Tim Goodman, minister of Clover Road Christian Church, will again officiate the ceremony.
In keeping with the celebration’s tradition, family and friends are invited to decorate loved ones’ graves for the winter season then join in an old-fashioned wiener roast around the warmth of a bon-fire at the cemetery office area. Family and friends are encouraged to linger awhile around the fire as Chris, Corey, and Joel Combs present a mini-concert. This talented father/son group is sure to put a smile on your face; we are honored to have them join us.
For history buffs, the cemetery staff will offer narrated hayride tours of the grounds, highlighting many of Hannibal’s historic figures buried at Mt. Olivet, names including: Clemens, Coontz, Dulany, Garth, Gideon, Helm, Mahan, Pettibone, Stowell, and Faurot. Others may enjoy a self-paced scavenger hunt for the various symbols carved into the older, ornate monuments.
“We want everyone to experience what we believe is one of Hannibal’s best-kept secrets, the beauty and history that is Mt. Olivet. Designed by the original board of directors as a ‘harmonious union of nature and art,’ Mt. Olivet is a place where early records reveal area residents came to ‘recreate and remember.’ To that end, we invite everyone, regardless of where his/her loved one is buried, to come participate in our All Souls’/Saints’ Day Celebration,” says Donna Brown, office manager. Bring your lawn chairs to enjoy the entire afternoon of activities.