Birmingham to host Oak Hill Cemetery Festival

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Birmingham to host Oak Hill Cemetery Festival

Oak Hill Cemetery will host a festival honoring those interred there on Sunday, Oct. 16.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Annie Milbourn

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Each fall, the Oak Hill Cemetery in Birmingham holds a history festival to honor and remember the ones buried there, including some of the University’s own alumni.

WHO: Open to anyone who purchases a $15 ticket

WHAT: The event is primarily a history festival with staged performances and guided tours. Throughout the festival, various cemetery residents will “come back to life” and go around to interact with the visitors, as well as give elaborate speeches and stories of their experiences in 19th century Birmingham.

Every half-hour, there will be guided tours around the cemetery. Food, drinks, music and t-shirts will also be available.

WHERE: Oak Hill Cemetery in Birmingham 

“I know it’s a drive and everything, but it’s a great opportunity and a great day out – you get to learn about Alabama history and Birmingham history,” said Jeff Hirschy, head of the steering committee for the event.

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 16 from Noon-4 p.m.

The purpose of the festival is to entertain and inform people of the history behind the inhabitants of the cemetery.

“A lot of the people who built and contributed to the University, a lot of the famous names that have come through the University, especially in the 19th and back half of the early part of the 20th century – they’re buried at Oak Hill,” Hirschy said.  “Oak Hill is so full of Alabama history.”

The cemetery itself is older than the city of Birmingham, dating back to its wrap-up of construction in 1869. However, nobody was buried there until 1871.

“In the end, it kind of de-mystifies cemeteries because too often people are like ‘ooh cemeteries,’ when in the nineteenth century, cemeteries were the only green space, so it was like a park,” Hirschy said. “They’re not these spooky, hellholes like movies and TV have made them out to be.”