November 3, 2012 8:34:12 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
Some of Columbus' most spirited characters and tales from the past will rise again Nov. 9-10 during the 2012 Ghosts & Legends Tour.
Bus tours will depart from the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center parking lot at 300 Main St. each evening at 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. Along the route, passengers will get a glimpse into Possum Town's colorful and sometimes mysterious past.
The popular tours, presented in previous years by the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation, return as a collaboration between the Columbus Arts Council, Mississippi University for Women Center for Women's Research and Public Policy, the MUW Department of Theatre and the Cultural Heritage Foundation.
With expanded research by MUW and the involvement of the university's theater students, as well as community volunteers, the tour takes on a fresh "face." From encounters with spirits who roam the halls of academia, to tales of pistol-toting grocers, the Ghosts & Legends experience is an entertaining way to explore a bygone era.
"The tour includes stories surrounding 12 local sites, with five disembarkations, including MUW and Friendship Cemetery," stated Adjunct Instructor of Theatre Sarah Hickox. The W alumna worked closely with Bridget Pieschel, director of the MUW Center for Women's Research and Public Policy, to enhance historical accuracy and to incorporate some new stories into the tour, which is based on original scripts by Carolyn Burns Kaye. Research conducted by Pieschel's husband, Steve Pieschel, also contributed content.
"I've really enjoyed the W getting involved in this and think it's great for students who will be helping," said Bridget Pieschel.
"For me, it's a good challenge, an outlet for performing," said MUW senior Paige Canida-Greene of Columbus. She will enact a scene at Friendship Cemetery. "I've not done anything exactly like this before, and you really get a history lesson about our community and the people that lived here."
Community volunteer Gwin Edie will also take part.
"I only moved to Columbus almost two years ago, so this helps me learn more about its past, which is fascinating to me. I'm really honored to be a part of it," Edie said.
The Columbus Arts Council is helping coordinate the event.
"The Arts Council is dedicated to continuing to build sustainable collaborations," said CAC Executive Director Tina Sweeten. The community and university working in tandem on the project is just one example of what can come from organizations pulling together, she added.
How to go
Tickets are $10 at the Columbus Arts Council's Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. They may also be purchased at the departure site on the night of the tours, if available.
Buses each hold approximately 30 passengers.
"In the past, these tours have sometimes sold out in advance, so to get the tour time you want, we recommend getting tickets in advance," said CAC Program Manager Beverly Norris.
Arts Council staff and volunteers will serve refreshments at the tour departure site.
For more information, contact the CAC at 662-328-2787, or visit columbus-arts.org.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.