Chamber hosts tour of Clanton cemetery on Halloween

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

While children lined the streets in the blocks surrounding the courthouse in Clanton as part of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce’s Trick or Treat the Streets event on Halloween, another contingent set up at the Clanton City Cemetery.

Guided tours of the graveyard were given, complete with members of the Chilton County High School Theater Arts Guild dressed up as some of the notable individuals interred there. The students gave a small performance in character in order to give some information on their subjects to visitors.

“They did a great job,” said Chamber board member Billy Singleton, who helped organize the event. “We wanted them to tell the story of people found in the cemetery in first person.”

A student performing as Alfred Baker Sr., the original namesake of the county we now call Chilton, was found at Baker’s headstone. Other performers dotted the landscape as well.

The committee that planned the Chilton County 150th anniversary celebration events initially wanted to include the cemetery tour as part of that week’s festivities.

“The cemetery tour has been talked about a lot for many different events,” said Derric Scott, who was part of that committee. “We wanted to do this for the 150 (celebration), but it was too busy, so we put it off the table.”

However, the Chamber of Commerce wanted to put on some kind of event for adults while Trick or Treat the Streets was going on, so Singleton suggested putting on the cemetery tour.

Still, the tour acted in essence as the last event held as part of the 150th celebration.

Not all of those mentioned on the tour had performers at their gravesites.

“We talked about many of the famous, or infamous, people in the cemetery, from founders of the county to baseball players to governor’s wives,” Scott said. “These same kids did a whole bunch of stuff for our (150th) celebration, including two of the painted backdrops that people took pictures in front of. I think it’s really a neat idea. It’s cool to see the costumes. Some communities do this annually, and that’s something we have talked about doing too.”

Singleton said just over 100 people were estimated to have taken the tour, which was available from 5 to 7 p.m. on Halloween night.

“Turnout exceeded our expectations,” he said. “People were still coming at 7 p.m., and unfortunately, we had to turn them away. Based on the turnout, we will do this again. We will highlight different individuals, increase it and have more to offer. We learned some lessons as well.”

Singleton said the idea of the event was not to be “spooky,” but to be respectful and informative.