Burton Village and the city of Chardon will be one stop on the Ohio Chautauqua Tour, appearing in the two communities June 17 through June 22.
For Burton, it will mark the third time the village has served as a backdrop for the five-day, free community event that combines living history performances, music, education and audience participation in a one-of-a-kind cultural event.
The Burton Historic District Association and Chardon Tomorrow joined forces to bring the event to both communities, marking the first time the Ohio Humanities Council has approved a joint effort between like-minded historical and community groups.
This year’s programs will be split between the two communities with daytime programs being hosted in the city of Chardon and all evening performances in Burton Village.
New to this year’s program will be a free youth camp, hosted by the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild at the theater on Chardon Square. It will run from June 17 to June 21 and accommodate children ages 9 to 13. The children will be able to participate in a camp where they will be part of interactive workshops, featuring living history performance, music, theater and art. Those interested in learning more or registering are asked to visit www.geaugatheater.org.
Various scholars will speak each day at Chardon Library and Heritage House on Chardon Square on topics that were making the headlines during the period between 1968 and 1973, including on food fads of that era. Similar evening programs will be hosted at the Burton Library.
Each evening at Geauga Historical Society’s Century Village Museum, family and friends can gather as live music fills the air and talented performers bring a historical figure to life through personal stories and historic detail.
This year’s lineup includes Susan Marie Frontczak as author Erma Bombeck on Tuesday, Jim Armstead as pioneering military man Benjamin O. Davis Jr. on Wednesday, Karen Vuranch as chef Julia Child on Thursday and Fred Blanco as union organizer Cesar Chavez on Friday and Jeremy Meier as Sen. Robert F. Kennedy on Saturday.
Patricia N. Williamsen, executive director of the Ohio Humanities Council, said the speakers chosen for this year represent a time of unrest in the United States as the ideals of America were being tested by war, race and politics.
“In the five-year period from 1968 through 1973, America was torn between its ideals of liberty and justice and its reality as a country deeply divided by war, by race, by politics – and by individuals demanding that America live up to its promise for equality,” Ms. Williamsen wrote.
“Cesar Chavez, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Julia Child and Robert F. Kennedy became voices for those demands, each in his or her own way, directing our eyes to see and our ears to hear and our hearts to change,” she continued. “They asked us to be better than we were. They directed our national conversation. That conversation was not always pleasant; frequently it resulted in more civil unrest. Even Erma Bombeck, whose humorous writing sparked no riots that I know of, challenged readers to consider the uncertainties of our brave new world, reflecting back to us the anxieties caused by competing values.”