History will be brought to life throughout Union County this week, through the music, entertainment, education and audience interaction of the Ohio Chautauqua.

History will be brought to life throughout Union County this week, through the music, entertainment, education and audience interaction of the Ohio Chautauqua.

The event is set for July 27-31, and is presented by the Ohio Humanities Council. Each evening, a different living history program is presented, in which a scholar transforms himself or herself into a prominent figure from history, giving a monologue that illustrates the figure's importance to our culture. The major presentations are held under a red-and-white striped tent, and begin with musical entertainment. Audience members are typically allowed to meet and speak with performers after their presentations.

The theme for the Marysville Chautauqua will be set in the 1930s era, according to coordinator Fran Tiburzio. Exploring figures from that era who helped shape our modern world, the Chautauqua will feature actors portraying comedian W.C. Fields, Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, singer/ actor/activist Paul Robeson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and entertainment giant Orson Welles.

On Saturday, the event will culminate with an old-time baseball game by the Ohio Village Muffins, an exhibition team that plays the game "as it was intended to be played." Sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct is valued above all else in this re-enactment of the early days of America's pastime.

Last week, Tiburzio organized the event in Gallipolis. She said that they experienced bad weather, but still drew a strong crowd.

"We just had our opening night, and even though there was a big thunderstorm, we still had about 300 people," she said. "The workshops have been well-attended as well - they each have their little twists, and although the actors aren't in character, you still hear a lot of the background information on their characters, how they relate to the era."

Tiburzio said everything is on track for the Union County Chautauqua to be a success.

"I think it's coming along pretty well, I haven't heard that anything has caught on fire, which is a good sign," she laughed. "Things are going well. I spoke to one of our coordinators (Tuesday) night, and the final details are being taken care of."

The major events for the Union County Chautauqua are set in Mill Valley Park South. Attendees should enter Mill Valley Park South from Route 31, and follow parking signs. Handicap parking for those with a permit will be available in the park; buses and shuttles only will be able to drop off people in the park's parking lot.

All other vehicles will need to park in designated areas; complimentary shuttle service will be available from those parking lots. A map indicating parking areas can be downloaded online at www.unioncounty.org/cvb.

Schedule of events


Military Night

10 a.m. - Michael Hughes, "Kids' Stuff in the 1930s," youth workshop at the Marysville Public Library, 231 S. Plum St. A workshop on the things that kept children entertained in the 1930s. 11 a.m. - Lunch break at the library, Orson Welles' radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, 1938. 1 p.m. - Michael Hughes, Two Beams or Not Two Beams," the golden age of American radio at the library. Participants will provide voices and sound effects for a comic version of a 1930s-style radio broadcast. In this adult workshop, Martians invade modern Ohio. 6 p.m. - Entertainment to be announced: patriotic songs, military equipment, displays and booths. 7:10 p.m. - Guest MC, retired General Oscar Decker. 7:15 p.m. - An Evening with Eleanor Roosevelt.


Youth Night

10 a.m. - Debra Conner, "Photographic Images of the Great Depression," a youth workshop at the Richwood North Union Library, 4 E. Ottawa St., Richwood. The workshop will analyze famous photographs from the Depression era and the government program that sponsored their work. 11 a.m. - Restaurants and stores in downtown Richwood will be offering special menus and discounts for the Ohio Chautauqua. 1 p.m. - Debra Conner, "Movie Madness," an adult workshop at the Richwood library. In this workshop, Conner will discuss clips of Gone With the Wind in order to appreciate the differences between Mitchell's novel and Hollywood's treatment of it, along with what went into making the film. 6 p.m. - Entertainment: youth group performances, including Encore. 7:10 p.m. - Guest MC Steve Conley. 7:15 p.m. - An Evening with Paul Robeson.


Senior Night

10 a.m. - Hank Fincken, "Vaudeville Tonight," a youth workshop at the Marysville library. Fincken will discuss the history of vaudeville and how it worked, and perform an old vaudeville routine with an adult volunteer from the audience. Workshop participants will stage a 10-minute scene written by Fincken. 11 a.m. - Lunch break at the Marysville library, "It's a Gift," a film starring W.C. Fields. 1 p.m. - Hank Fincken, "Make 'Em Laugh: The Comedy of W.C. Fields," an adult workshop at the Marysville library. The program begins with a discussion of how and why comic films flourished in the 1920s, and then struggled when silent movies became 'talkies' in the early 1930s. 6 p.m. - Entertainment: Over Easy, featuring big-band music and dancing. 7:10 p.m. - Guest MC Dick Douglas. 7:15 p.m. - An Evening with Orson Welles.


Date Night

10 a.m. - Susan Marie Frontczak, "A Storyteller's Tour of the 1930s," a youth workshop at the Plain City Senior Center, 390 Allgyer Drive, Plain City. Frontczak leads workshoppers through adventures written in the 1930s such as The Country Bunny and the Golden Shoes, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and The Story about Ping, and discusses how these stories reflect the times from which they come. 11 a.m. - Restaurants, stores and the Historical Society in uptown Plain City will offer special menus, discounts and displays of the 1930s. 1 p.m. - Susan Marie Frontczak, "Dear Mr. President: A humorous look at letters and packages sent to the White House throughout the Roosevelt administration." From the typical to the outrageous, hear what it was like in the mail room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during the 1930s.