20th Anniversary Prairieland Chautauqua at JHS auditorium this weekend

By Gary Scott on August 31, 2018 at 11:08am

West Central Illinoisans are welcome to attend the 20th annual Prairieland Chautauqua starting tomorrow and running through Monday.

The 20th Anniversary Prairieland Chautauqua features family-oriented entertainment and intriguing character portrayals from Illinois’ 200-year history, which serves as the theme of this year’s event. The 2018 Prairieland Chautauqua is themed: “Illinois: Bicentennial Celebration,” and focuses on the historical events, figures and Prairie State culture that’s been shaped by the two centuries that have gone by since Illinois’ founding in 1818.

Dave Truesdale with the Prairieland Chautauqua joined WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” program Wednesday, where he went over all of this weekend’s acts and performances. While Chautauqua events have been prevalent throughout the United States for hundreds of years, the Jacksonville area Chautauqua has a history dating back to 1998. Truesdale says a former MacMurray College professor is most responsible for introducing the Chautauqua to the city of Jacksonville.

Truesdale says the Chautauqua is really a mixture of entertaining and informational type storytelling. This year specifically, those stories focus on the history of Illinois.

This weekend’s Chautauqua is a three-day long event on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with the first performance starting at 4 p.m. and the final presentation at 8 p.m. on each day. Among the subjects covered in the event include: Notable Women of Illinois History, The History & Future of Agriculture in Illinois as told through the eyes of John Deere, the History of Chicago Jazz and more.

As for the weekend’s first presenter, Truesdale says folks will hear from a former professor from Illinois College.

The 20th annual Prairieland Chautauqua will take place Saturday through Monday at the Jacksonville High School auditorium. All performances are free and open to the public.