George Washington and the Chautauqua Series, Mount Vernon, Ohio

I had seen signs in the area and articles on the newspaper for quite some time, but last Thursday night was the first time we attended the local Chautauqua event in Mount Vernon, Ohio about George Washington.

The Chautauqua meeting has roots in American History that date back to the 1800s. And President Theodore Roosevelt said the Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America.”

Our local Chautauqua in Mount Vernon, Ohio is organized by Mike Petee and Elixir Presents. They have monthly events each focusing on a significant character from history. The Ohio Humanities Council has a bank of speakers and actors that some of their actors come from.

Right now the Chautauquas are held in the banquet room of the beautiful new Mount Vernon Grand Hotel. Elixer hopes to move to the Woodward Opera House once it is completed next spring.

Grand Hotel

Hotel Stair Case

The focus of the evening was George Washington. First, the musical group JMJ Crescent performed a nice selection of music from the era of George Washington. Jeff Langworthy, Margaret Litteral and JR Rhodebeck as well as a few others brought a “simple blend of old time music with a light mix of folk and celtic” (from program).

JMJ Crescent

Then George Washington made his appearance. He was presented in first person by Ken Hammontree of Living History Productions. He is a former history teacher that now presents various characters in living history. He focused on Washington’s struggles at Valley Forge. He interacted with the audience like he was in a meeting with his officers. Then he took questions from the audience. I was surprised to learn about those who opposed Washington as General of the Army. Even back then congressional politics prevented financial support for the military even though the aid was available. Hammontree’s presentation was fun and informative. It was good family fun.

Hammontree as Washington

And we even got a picture with General Washington himself!

It looks like the Elixir’s Chautauqua’s series has some interesting meetings planned for 2018. We will certainly try to go to some of them.

2018 Chautauqua Schedule

Are there any other Chautauqua series in Ohio? I’m sure readers would be glad to know more about them.

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