As dusk fell over Kissimmee’s Historic Rose Hill Cemetery, guests of Osceola County Historical Society’s 9th annual Dine with the Departed sponsored by Gatorland fundraiser began to arrive. Music filled the air as guests perused over 40 silent auction items before taking their seats. Dinner, succulent barbequed chicken and pulled pork accompanied by baked beans and green beans, was catered by Big John’s Rockin’ BBQ. When dinner service came to a close, the live auction began and was facilitated by OCHS board member, Ricky Booth. After the live auction closed, the winners of the silent auctions were announced.
The cemetery tours began shortly after the auctions’ closings. Each table was lead into the candle lit cemetery by one of OCHS’s tour guides. A light rain began to fall as the second tour made its way into the gloom, setting the scene for encounters with some of Osceola County’s dearly departed residents. This year, guests were greeted by Scipio Lesesne as their first ghostly encounter. As the tours moved deeper into the cemetery, they came across Dr. Wilson McArthur Lancaster and his daughter Dr. Avaline Lancaster Cannon. Finally, Henry O.Partin met them towards the end of their tour before heading in from the rain for coffee and dessert sponsored by Boston Lobster Feast.
This year’s event raised $22,000, well over OCHS’s goal of $17,000. Funds raised at the event go towards educational programming and general operations. If you are interested in sponsoring, participating, or enjoying next year’s event, please contact Rachel McIntee.