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Woodlawn treasure hunt seeks to rejuvenate cemetery

April 17, 2018 GMT

Woodlawn Cemetery’s inaugural treasure hunt aims to entice Winonans to help beautify the grounds for a chance to win $1,500 in prizes from 18 area businesses.

Starting Monday, volunteers who put in at least 10 hours of community service mowing, trimming or clearing brush on the cemetery grounds before May 27, will be eligible to take part in the hunt.

Cemetery Superintendent Tim Leahy said the idea was to create an event that would reward people for volunteering.

“Woodlawn is the oldest cemetery in Winona,” he said. “The cemetery always needs the community service.”

Former superintendent and event organizer Al Paffrath said the event is also a chance for community members to learn more about the cemetery’s history.

“When you’re clearing brush, you can’t help but look at the gravestones,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Woodlawn has tried to get the community involved in cleaning up the cemetery.

“Over the years we’ve tried to encourage the community to come out and help ahead of Memorial Day,” Leahy said. “This year, we decided to do something fun, something to pay tribute to the founder of Woodlawn.”

Each Monday, new clues to the location of a treasure chest, modeled after a period-faithful box that cemetery founder Ezekial D. Williams could have owned, will be revealed at the Woodlawn Cemetery main office, starting on April 30.

Inside the treasure chest are gift certificates from area businesses including Midtown Foods, Yarnology, Fantastic Sams, Target and 14 others.

Volunteers will be required to complete a minimum of two hours a week. However, those who complete all 10 hours of service before the end of the event will not be required to complete additional hours to receive the clues each week.

The final clue will be given out at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 29. The first person to find the box will win the prize.

Just one clever volunteer will take home all the treasure.

To participate, volunteers must be 18 or older and sign a liability release. The event is open everyone and to people of all skill levels.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own lawn, weed and brush trimming equipment. A limited quantity of cemetery equipment will be available for those who don’t have their own.

No shovels or tools will be required for the hunt itself.

To enter or for more information, contact Woodlawn Cemetery at 507-452-6016 or woodlawn@hbci.com.