Cemetery hopes 5K race, actors draw new customers

AP News
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Posted: Oct 17, 2014 3:18 PM
Cemetery hopes 5K race, actors draw new customers

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A cemetery in central Illinois is embarking on an unusual marketing campaign that includes a 5K race and actors dressing as people buried there.

The goal is to encourage more people to buy lots at Springdale Cemetery, Bob Manning, chairman of the management authority at the Peoria cemetery, told the Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1sYYBdB ). Ten events will be hosted this month in an effort to diversify the appeal of the sprawling East Bluff property, he said.

"We know if we get people back into the cemetery, they're going to be amazed at its beauty," Manning said. "Then, hopefully, they'll think of us when time comes."

Actors from the Prairie Folklore Theater kicked off the initiative by portraying people who have been buried in the cemetery since it opened in 1857. Visitors were able to meet the famous locals during walking tours. They have attracted people who probably wouldn't normally visit the cemetery, according to Manning.

The cemetery also held the Ron Santo Walk and 5K to Cure Diabetes earlier this month and is set to hold the Screaming Pumpkin Race next week.

"Springdale is one the most beautiful and pristine areas to run in central Illinois," said Adam White, owner of a local athletic gear and shoe store. "It's in the middle of the city of Peoria, but it's quiet and has the serious mileage required so routes don't have to overlap much."

Officials hope to hold many more races at the cemetery in the future, Manning said.

The cemetery's general manager plans to unveil the new marketing campaign in its entirety, including events other than the tours and races, next week.

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com