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'A Walk in the Past' Saturday
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After a successful run last year Heritage Alliance of McMinnville – Warren County will be sponsoring its second “A Walk in the Past” event this Saturday, Oct. 29 from 5-8 p.m. in the Riverside Cemetery in Depot Bottom.
The event will be a fundraiser for Heritage Alliance which is asking for a $5 donation, with children 8 and under getting in free.
The subject will be “The Civil War: North & South Remembered Part II,” according to Heritage Alliance president Jimmy Haley, who has helped organize similar events downtown.
“This is the second one we’ve done in the cemetery,” Haley said. “Last year we did a Civil War remembrance as part of the 150th anniversary. It was so well received with the hundreds of people who came through we decided we wanted to do one downtown, but people said ‘We love the cemetery.’ So we’re going to do the cemetery again.”
Haley says the organization is striving to provide an informative, interesting and entertaining experience for those who attend.
“Some of our characters have Civil War themes and stories,” Haley said. “We’re not going to be doing just facts and figures, these are actually going to be stories from these people’s lives. We’re trying to make the Civil War a part of who we are, to make it seem real instead of just facts out of a history book.
“They are going to be speaking in character,” Haley said. “I’ve spent a lot of hours writing scripts and speeches not only for all the tour guides, but for the characters themselves.”
Haley explained how the tours will be scheduled.
“We’ll begin at 5 p.m. doing 20-minute tours and the last tour will start at 7 p.m.,” Haley said. “We’ll be doing color coded wristbands to indicate which time everybody is going.”
Music will be provided by the Southern Standard’s own Bill Cathcart performing traditional fiddle tunes. Depot Bottom Old Country Store will be open serving soup and sandwiches.
“So that will be another venue for folks while they’re waiting,” Haley said, noting the evening promises to be another pleasant trip down memory lane offering an educational and enjoyable glimpse into Warren County history, in the words of those who actually lived it.
“Of course everybody will be in costume, including the tour guides,” Haley said. “And we’ve got 10 characters as part of the tour this year.”
Characters in the walk will include:
• Jesse Walling — The tour host and first character will be played by Haley himself.
• Colonel Mumford — portrayed by Rodney Boyd
• Lucy Virginia French — played by Carol Heal
• Dr. John Barkley Armstrong — portrayed by Dr. Trey Kirby
• Blanche Spurlock Bentley — played by Mary Little
• Chatham Coffee — played by Terrie Kirby
• Colonel Savage — portrayed by Dr. Lynn England
“So we’ve got several characters that I think everybody will be interested in,” Haley said. “Our tour guides will include members of the InterAct and Middle School YouthAct Clubs, who will be helping, and we’ll have some adult tour guides too.”
Haley went on to explain some of the logistics of the event.
“Parking will be at a premium,” Haley said. “So we’re asking people to park on the outside of the cemetery and along the fence. We’ll be going in the front gate and actually coming out the west gate. We’ll have luminaries and torches so we’ll have it fairly well lit, and we’ll have big barrel with extra wood to keep everyone warm while they’re waiting.”
With the tragic loss of a number of historic buildings literally changing the face of downtown, Haley says Heritage Alliance hopes to impress upon local residents the importance of keeping the past alive with this year’s Walk in the Past.
“This is history, this is education,” Haley said. “We want to make people more aware of what was here, what is here and the rich past that we have. People don’t realize what a player a lot of the McMinnville folks were in the Civil War. It’s impossible to fathom the level of involvement Warren Countians had. So that’s part of what we’re trying to do with this event.”