Prairieland Chautauqua kicks off on Friday

By Ryne Turke on September 4, 2015 at 12:30pm

The Prairieland Chautauqua All American Showcase is returning to Jacksonville this weekend.

The 17th annual event will take place at First Christian Church on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, running from 4-8 p.m. each day.

Program Director Dave Truesdale appeared on WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” this week to talk about the activities planned for this year. He says Chautauqua has a long history throughout the United States.

“Chautauqua goes back to the 19th Century. People started forming groups that would travel around the country presenting music, lectures and general entertainment. This event has been headquartered in Jacksonville for nearly 20 years,” says Truesdale.

Some of the special presentations on Saturday include a view of American History through the eyes of Chief Blackhawk at 5 p.m. and an informational lecture on famous instruments in Illinois at 7 p.m.

An actress from Chicago will be portraying a pair of first ladies, Jackie Kennedy at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Eleanor Roosevelt at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

On Monday, the final day of the event, the “Dulcimer Guy” will take the stage at 4 p.m.

“Mike Anderson will do stories and sounds. I’m sure he will have things that are wonderful for the children. I’ve asked him to explore the musical instruments he plays,” says Truesdale.

“At 5 p.m. our own Sherri Mitchell, a wonderful actress in Jacksonville, will portray a character from the 19th Century that few have heard of. Her name was Mary Anderson and she traveled around the United States as a Shakespearean actress.”

Admission is free for all three days and donations will be accepted.