PIQUA — The Ohio Humanities Council will present Ohio Chautauqua in Piqua from June 5-8, at the Hance Pavilion in Fountain Park. With a theme of “Modern Legends,” the five-day event combines living history, music and entertainment, education, theater, and audience interaction for an exciting cultural event the entire community can enjoy.
Each evening of Ohio Chautauqua, trained scholar-performers will assume the costume and character of historical figures as they present performances beneath an old-fashioned red-and-white-striped Chautauqua tent. Incidentally, Hance Pavilion was specifically built for Chautauqua performances beginning in the early 1900s.
On Tuesday, June 5, visit the ever-funny Erma Bombeck, portrayed by Susan Marie Frontczak. Bombeck was known for her humor and wit and believed you had to be able to laugh at life to get through it.
Wednesday, June 6 will feature labor and civil rights activist, Cesar Chavez, portrayed by Fred Blanco. Chavez is best known as founder of the United Farm Workers labor movement, which succeeded in raising salaries and improving working conditions for farm workers in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida.
On Thursday, June 7, meet Betty Friedan, portrayed by Dr. Sally Ann Drucker. Friedan was most noted for sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century. She was the co-founder and first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Friday, June 8 will feature Dr. J. Holmes Armstead as Benjamin O. Davis Jr., American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. Davis became the first African American general officer in the Air Force through his leadership and missions that included escorting bombers on air combat missions over Europe.
Ohio Chautauqua concludes on Saturday, June 9 with performer Jeremy Meier portraying distinguished politician and lawyer Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy. In 1968, Kennedy was a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
Piqua’s Ohio Chautauqua experience is made possible in part by Unity National Bank, Neils and Ruth Lundgard Foundation, Hartzell-Norris Charitable Trust, Miami County Foundation, Piqua Community Foundation, and the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Each evening will begin with local musical entertainment at 6:15 p.m., followed by the historical presentation at 7:30. The evening concludes after the scholar steps out of character to answer audience questions. Audience members can meet and talk with the performers after the presentation.
Concessions will be available, or feel free to bring your own picnic to Fountain Park prior to each performance. Services for people with disabilities include designated parking, wheelchair seating areas, and a sound amplification system.