Historic District board planning ghost walk, Pioneer Days this year

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

GRAND BLANC TWP. — The Grand Blanc Township Historic District Commission is cautiously moving forward with plans for special events in 2021.

With the uncertainty about safety restrictions surrounding the COVID- 19 pandemic, the commission has decided to forgo the traditional May open house at the Historic Perry McGrath Homestead, but planning is underway for Pioneer Days on Saturday, Oct. 9.

In addition, commissioners are ironing out the details of a new event, a ghost walk through the Perry McFarlen Cemetery, on Saturday, Aug. 7.

Commissioner Stephanie Popoff is organizing the ghost walk.

She has recruited six volunteers to be stationed throughout the cemetery.

A docent will escort small groups of visitors through the burial grounds, stopping at each station where the actors will recite scripted stories of the town founders who are buried there.

“They basically do a history about the person, when they came to town, where they lived, the value of their farm, how many children they had, those kinds of things,” said Popoff.

Some of the speakers are descendants of the town founders who are buried in the cemetery, which also serves as the final resting place for Civil War and Revolutionary War soldiers.

After the walk, guests may be able to tour the Perry house across the street.

Some of the details, such as whether the narrators will be in period costumes, remain under construction. The commission also is considering seeking sponsors to provide coffee and doughnuts at the Perry house.

Patrick Linihan, Grand Blanc Township’s director of Parks and Recreation, likes the idea of adding events that involve the Perry homestead.

“I feel the Perry house is an underused facility in our township,” Linihan said. “I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Linihan, who previously worked at Crossroads Village, is optimistic that the parks department will be able to expand the opportunities at the historic home.

“I see a lot of grant opportunities,” he said. “One thing that will be nice is having the leverage of the parks department.”

Linihan added that the township board of trustees is open to ideas.

“We’re looking at slowly creating more recreational opportunities for residents, and the Perry house is definitely going to be one of those things,” he said. “There are definitely some (opportunities) there. Our plan is, in the next couple of months, to start to figure it out.”

He is looking for more ideas from the Historic District Commission, which he sees as a “strong advocate” for the property.