Cemeteries carry a reputation as a place for mourning, grief, and sadness for those who visit the grounds. The fear embedded in those who will never set foot in a cemetery is contributed to cemeteries being personified as scary, forbidden lands. While these stereotypes of cemeteries have existed since their existence, some cemeteries are taking steps to change the community members’ minds. Recently, cemeteries are offering to host events on their grounds to welcome all community members to enjoy the grounds. However, cemeteries attempting to change their public perception has led to complaints from those who use the cemetery for its “intended purpose”.
In Roseville, Minnesota, the Roselawn cemetery board has canceled a car show after some residents voiced concerns about the event’s location. The Roselawn Cemetery had planned to host the “Rods and Stones” car show on their cemetery campus, but took to social media to cancel the event after local residents expressed their distress. The Roselawn Cemetery board apologized for planning to host the car show and urged the public to recognize that their “intention was never to be disrespectful or disruptive to any visitor or to the memory of any loved one.” The Roselawn Cemetery board said the event’s benefits were threefold: it was intended to raise funds for the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s college fund, to help make cemeteries “less intimidating and forbidding,” and to connect with local residents.
It appears that Roselawn Cemetery’s attempt to connect with the community and invite people to enjoy their grounds was not taken well by those who have loved ones resting in the cemetery grounds. Should cemeteries try to change their public perception by hosting “fun” events for the community or should they remain a solemn place for prayer and reflection? It is unclear if hosting a hot-rod car show is the most appropriate manner to utilize the cemetery property, but there may be greater community support for more tame events to take place in the future.