Fall “Family and Friends” Festival Held Oct. 26, 2013
On Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc. (FOMMCI) held its 2013 (Second Annual) Fall “Family and Friends” Festival. The idea was to provide a day of fun, rest, and relaxation to thank the hundreds of volunteers who worked so hard this past year to help us keep the grass cut, clear the trash, whack the weeds, and cut the trees. Our president wanted us not to work, but celebrate. Well, you can’t keep good people down. Sixty or so volunteers showed up wanting to work, so we provided them with hand tools and let them cut and rake grass, clear trash, whack weeds, and cut trees!
Various Board members showed up at dawn (sunrise pic) to set up the central gathering site (Section 200), so hot coffee would be waiting for the first busload of volunteers when they arrived. As always, the day presented us with a varied group – people from all walks of life showed up for many different reasons. Everyone has his or her own personal reason for helping to save and restore Mount Moriah Cemetery. A group of Temple University film students recognized this and spent the day filming and doing interviews with the people involved.
Several families came to find their ancestors’ graves, for which we were prepared with maps and laptop with database of burial records. Friends’ Board members Fred and Sue Facciolli ran the genealogy station (in photo at left you see Fred searching the database while a visitor waits.) One of the services that Board members provide is physically helping visitors to find graves in the cemetery, if that is requested. Several such missions were accomplished, often by FOMMCI Board member Donna Morelli, who knows the site better than most.
We had about sixty people show up to work from various organizations, among them: PowerCorpsPHL (Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement & Volunteer Service), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church), and Drexel University. Drexel sends its freshmen as part of its (required for freshmen) Civic Engagement course. Students are able to decide where they want to volunteer their time and effort – this busload of students chose Mount Moriah. We are immensely grateful for the work the Drexel students accomplished clearing the hillside brush and weeds in Section 15. Photo at right shows FOMMCI Board member Ken Smith leading the charge.
Many volunteers working along with the LDS group tackled the Askin mausoleum and hillside in Section 28. As you can see from the photo at left, the structure was not even visible prior to the day’s cleanup effort. Afterward – what a transformation! Everyone here today seemed driven to accomplish some good, and their efforts surely paid off. Our Board members and other volunteers set up and served hot food and drinks all day – we are grateful to Kimberley Cordray, Dawn Dyer, and Jen O’Donnell for running the tables and keeping the lines moving.
We coaxed the volunteer workers to take some breaks, and enjoy the tours provided by FOMMCI Board members Sam Ricks and Ed Snyder. Sam (photo at right) ran the lecture tour “Remembering our Congressional Medal of Honor Veterans” in the Naval Asylum Plot and provided information on Mount Moriah’s twenty-one Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Ed provided an “Art and Architecture” tour, which included the 1855 gatehouse, the (Masonic) Circle of St. John, and Betsy Ross’ grave.
All in all, it was a fun, fulfilling, and enjoyable day. The kids really enjoyed the pumpkin-painting table! Thanks to all who came out to celebrate! In the words of FOMMCI President, Paulette Rhone, “Thank you all for joining us for our 2nd Annual Family and Friends Fall Festival … More importantly, thank you for being a Friend of Mount Moriah … it was a great day to get to know each other….”
Please click this link to view additional photos from the Fall Festival on the Photos page of the FOMMCI website. (Gatehouse photo by Frank Rausch, all others by Ed Snyder.)