April 10: Art Fair and Clean-up Event Planned to Benefit Pottstown’s Historic Edgewood Cemetery

Christine Tarlecki

Friends of the previously abandoned Edgewood Historic Cemetery at 989 E. High Street, Pottstown, have been busy planning a community clean-up — with a unique twist — for Saturday, April 10, and it is going to be a beautiful event.

Volunteers are encouraged to help do some gardening and raking on the previously abandoned 12-acre site from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — and browse and purchase wares from more than 20 local artists during the clean-up event. 

In addition, a raffle will be held for prizes including artists’ works, gift baskets, and gift cards to local businesses, with all profits benefitting Edgewood’s maintenance fund.

The event is being billed as “Edgewood Eddie’s Art Fair and Cemetery Clean-up” in tribute to the handsome hawk who lives at the cemetery and frequently makes his appearance, perching on tombstones or looking over the grounds from one of the trees.

“We are thrilled by the enthusiastic response to the Art Fair idea,” said Andrew Monastra, President of Edgewood’s small, all-volunteer board.  

“We also are eager to greet volunteers – individuals, families, or Pottstown area civic groups – who want to show respect to those buried in this cemetery by helping us spruce up the grounds in advance of the mowing season.

“Care for this cemetery – which a few years ago was in terrible disrepair – needs to be sustained by our community’s compassion, effort, and generosity,” Monastra added.  

Planners request that participants wear masks and practice physical distancing in keeping with current protocols.

The Cemetery’s friends group thanks Rocky Citrino of Little Italy and The Pourhouse in Pottstown for offering to donate lunches to volunteers who give some of their time to the clean-up. 

Rakes, gloves, and other hand tools will be provided, but volunteers who can bring weed whackers or mowers are asked to do so.

As noted, all funds raised from the artists’ table rentals of $25 each and the raffle will help cover Edgewood’s annual $16,000-$20,000 mowing fees. 

Funds raised through this event will be applied toward a $1,000 matching gift challenge issued by past, loyal donor Bud Wendell, a Class of 1942 graduate of The Hill School who lives in Menlo Park, Calif., and has family connections to the cemetery.

The group’s goal is, in part, to bring some joyful community spirit to the grounds. Interestingly, in days past cemeteries were used for outdoor family events like picnics and other social gatherings. 

The Edgewood friends would love to see Pottstown residents appreciate and use the cemetery’s park-like setting – and the Art Fair, they hope, will attract families to the venue, even if they can’t assist with gardening and other tasks.

Local artist and photographer Bronwyn DeMaso is credited with suggesting that the cemetery friends host an art fair on the grounds. 

It was DeMaso who named “Eddie,” and captured his image in gorgeous photographs.

As noted on the flyer, artists may set up a table for a nominal fee of $25.  If they’d like to donate an item for the raffle also benefitting the maintenance fund, it will be appreciated. Art Fair questions can be directed to DeMaso at 484-235-7875.   

Other raffle donations are still welcomed.  Email Cathy Skitko at cathy@hobartsrunpottstown.org or text 610-906-7872 to contribute an item.

General donations may be made by sending a check for $25 to Edgewood Historic Cemetery c/o 740 E. High St., Pottstown, PA.  Volunteers with questions should contact Edgewood’s President, Andrew Monastra, at 484-459-5412.