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'Enlighten, not frighten:' Fairmount Cemetery finding new, unorthodox ways to entice visitors

Posted at 8:41 AM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 10:41:08-04

DENVER — Would you visit a cemetery for a family friendly night out?

Fairmount Cemetery is a 129-year-old property in east Denver where more than 180,000 people are laid to rest. From the outside looking in, a cemetery typically gives off a creepy or mysterious feel. Fairmount Cemetery is no exception. But in recent years, the cemetery has come up with unusual ways to bring in visitors.

And there is nothing scary about it.

Every summer, the cemetery hosts a car show. Initially, the show attracted about 200 cars, but in recent years, it's grown to more than 400.

"It's very unique," said Corvette enthusiast Brodie Garnett. "You wouldn't think it would be that enjoyable, but it really is."

The cemetery also hosts several movie nights on the grounds over the summer.

"People bring their picnics, their blankets, chairs and enjoy a family friendly movie under the stars," said Fairmount Cemetery director of business development Michael Long.

The cemetery wants to send a message that a cemetery doesn't have to be scary, he said.

"We want people to come for the monuments and the architecture and all the historic landmarks that we have here," he said. "It's about history and understanding."

For those who crave mystery, Fairmount still offers its History Mystery tours. The evening begins at the Ivy Chapel and slowly moves through the cemetery in the dark led only by the flashlights.

"We still want people to remember we are here to enlighten, not frighten," Long said.