Cemetery Walk: “Closing the Gap”

The Annual Canton Cemetery Walk is a unique public event about the lives of well-known, interesting, and influential people of the past from the Canton area takes place Sunday October first 2023.  It’s the annual Canton Cemetery Walk hosted by the Canton Area Heritage Center.  Local performers are the actors for the portrayals and are dressed as the notable people would have been while they were living.  Key episodes of their lives are recounted by the performers.  Six people’s lives will be portrayed. 

The six people are…           

Dorothy Fennell (FENN’ ull)…a member of a small team of scientists in the 1940’s at the Peoria Ag Research Laboratory who developed a way to mass-produce penicillin that has since saved many millions of lives.  She’ll be portrayed by Belle (bell) Hardy.           

Charlotte Bennett…a strong advocate for the arts and music in the area for many years.  The portrayal will be by Andrea Barbknecht (BARB’ kuh nekt).           

Bill Cook…who founded what is now the largest privately owned medical device company in the world.   He’ll be portrayed by Mike Krulac (CREW’ lack).           

Charlie Wright…the longtime owner-operator of WBYS radio.  Kevin Stephenson will be doing the portrayal.            ***

Kay Ragsdale (RAGS’ dale)…a world-renowned flutist who performed and travelled for many years with the stage musical, The Lion King.  She’ll be portrayed by Carol Davis.           

Bob Ems…the longtime executive director of the Canton Park District.  The portrayal will be by Bob Juraco (juh ROCK’ oh).           

What makes the event especially unique is where it takes place.  The site is Greenwood Cemetery at 640 South Main Street in Canton.  There will be three, approximately one hour performances.  The first one at 3:00 p.m. will be on a stage in front of the Greenwood mausoleum.  Visitors are urged to bring lawn chairs.  Trees provide some shade, but bringing an umbrella to block the sun is recommended.  For those who may be mobility impaired, golf carts will take visitors from the parking area at the cemetery to the performance area.  Restrooms will be available.           

The other two performances are at 4:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.  The portrayals will be the same as those at the mausoleum.  However, instead of on a stage, they’ll be at the gravestones of the persons being portrayed.  The gravestones are a short walk apart from one another and are located throughout the cemetery.  Visitors will stop at the gravestones for each portrayal, then move on to the next.  A new feature this year will enhance the audience experience for the gravestone performances.  Individual sound systems will be used for each portrayal.       

The Canton Cemetery Walk is hosted by the community’s museum…The Canton Area Heritage Center at 111 South Main Street.  There is no admission charge to the Cemetery Walk or the museum.  Donations are welcome, though.  Net proceeds from the event will help support Canton Area Heritage Center programs and activities. Please revisit this page throughout the month of September as information will be updated, especially regarding more about the notable people to be portrayed.

Annual Cemetery Walk

Sunday, October 1st, 2023
at Greenwood Cemetery
640 South Main Steet

3:00pm Presentation in front of the Mausoleum.

4:15pm and 5:30pm Walking performances.

Admission: Free, Donations welcome!

More info. contact: Kevin Stephenson, 309-338-2527, kdsteph20@att.net

Heritage Center Museum
111 S. Main St.
Canton, IL 61520