19th Annual Prairieland Chautauqua taking place this weekend

By Gary Scott on September 1, 2017 at 12:29pm

Adding to the weekend full of local activities is the annual Prairieland Chautauqua.

Now in its 19th year running, the Prairieland Chautauqua is welcoming a handful of talented actors, singers and top-notch re-creators of American history. First Christian Church on South Main will host the three day event running from Saturday to Monday.

The theme of this year’s Chautauqua is “America and the Great War,” and focuses on the time period in which the United States became involved in World War I.

Long-time Chautauqua organizer Dave Truesdale joined WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” program to discuss this weekend’s event. He discusses the origins of the Prairieland Chautauqua.

“Here in Jacksonville, Wolf Fuhrig started this thing…I suspect he heard about it from somewhere else. He got a grant of several thousand dollars from the state to help him, and he put up a big tent down in Community Park and that there started Chautauqua here in Jacksonville. And for years, Wolf did that single-handedly, he had very little help in that project, he just did it himself. He was amazing,” says Truesdale.

Truesdale explains what the Chautauqua is all about, and what visitors might learn at this year’s event.

“What the Chautauqua is trying to do is. first tell the people what the war was all about. And a great teacher named Chris McDonald who’s with Lincoln Land Community College and who’s studied this war for his entire life, he put together a program several months ago with a video and lecture that zooms us through the war in forty-five minutes. It’s the first program up, so if people come to that program, they’ll have some idea of what caused this war, what happened, how did it end and what was it all about,” says Truesdale.

The Nineteenth Annual Prairieland Chautauqua starts Saturday and runs through Monday with multiple shows and presentations each night starting at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the 2017 Prairieland Chautauqua’s Facebook page, or the Morgan County Historical Society’s Facebook page.