Community News Ruritans invite public to an evening of bluegrass, food and fundraising

Community News Ruritans invite public to an evening of bluegrass, food and fundraising

May 17th, 2017 by Gabrielle Chevalier in Community East Hamilton

Jim Holcomb catalogs gravestone information at Enterprise South before the East Hamilton County and Harrison Ruritan clubs cleared the industrial park's five cemeteries.

Photo by Gillian Bolsover

Every other week for eight months out of the year, Harrison Bay Cemetery requires 12 hours of dedication to mow the grass. Basic maintenance costs are more than $4,000 per year, said representative Jim Holcomb.

Once needed repairs such as fencing and paving are added in, funds from the interest on the trust established to care for the historic cemetery cover a mere 25 percent of total annual costs, if that, he said.

"Most old country cemeteries like this are intended to be looked after by a church," the longtime trustee and Harrison Ruritan member said. " But tiny churches can't be saddled with the responsibility to handle and maintain something like this."

Since no church is able to maintain the cemetery, Holcomb, as the acting trustee, is tasked with caring for the property, maintaining the lots and selling those that are still available — which means he frequently has to solicit donations.

"It's an ongoing problem for me just to get funds to mow the grounds," he said.

The Harrison Ruritan Club's biannual Bluegrass Jamboree, being held Saturday, May 20, will benefit both the cemetery and Friends of Harrison Bay State Park. With proceeds from the family-friendly, food- and dance-filled evening split 50/50, Holcomb said he hopes the assistance will ensure the cemetery's continued upkeep.

Julianne Joel, Bluegrass Jamboree coordinator, said the club selects different area nonprofits to fundraise for each May and November. This time, she added, the hyper-locality of the groups chosen make the event all the more worthwhile.

"They're often overlooked, especially the cemetery," she said of the designees. "It's good music, good food and good fellowship, along with an opportunity to support your community specifically."

The Bluegrass Jamboree will run from 6-9 p.m. at the Harrison Ruritan Club, 5637 Highway 58, across from Central High School.

Cost is $5 per person, with additional donations welcome to support the cemetery and park. The evening will feature Mountain Road, Scenic City Ramblers and East Ridge Cloggers, as well as catfish and other Southern-style classic foods available for purchase.

For more information, visit