Florida Chautauqua Assembly comes to DeFuniak Springs Jan. 26 – 29

January 17, 2017

Dr. Richard Thomas portrays Doc Holliday, the colorful award winning dentist and best friend of Wyatt Earp, gambler and gunslinger, at one of two performance teas at the Florida Chautauqua.

Preserving the past, living in the present and looking to the future, Florida Chautauqua Assembly proudly presents this year’s theme, “A Journey into Science, Technology, Medicine and Society,” from Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, January 29, 2017. The majority of activities and programs are focused in and around the historic Circle Drive and various other sites around DeFuniak Springs.

Free Living History exhibits on the Lake Yard on Circle Drive coupled with affordable new pricing hope to attract the public to this yearly family event which put the town “on the map” when the second Chautauqua in the U.S. was established by New York Chautauqua enthusiasts looking for a warmer climate to hold their events in 1885.  More than 20 guest speakers and performers will be entertaining and informing Chautauqua participants at this year’s event along with historical re-enactors in the Lake Yard bringing history to life.

Meriwether Lewis’ (represented by Moni Boling) tea performance relates the story of how he met with Dr. Benjamin Rush in May, 1803 to learn about medicine before setting off on the infamous Lewis and Clark westward expedition at President Thomas Jefferson’s behest.

Appearing at Walton High School on Friday morning, Keynote Speaker, Wesley Boles, R.N. is the Director of Trauma Services at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Emergency Services. He was recently recognized by the American College of Surgeons with an award for initiating a system which is now becoming a best practice in multiple trauma centers across the country. Mr. Boles presentation at Walton High School addresses the “Evolution of Trauma Centers” and their importance to local communities. Specially trained trauma nurses have a body of knowledge in caring for injured patients that result in significantly lower death rates for those entering emergency rooms.

Saturday’s excursion to Piney Grove Church in DeFuniak Springs will be a journey into a cultural past when small country churches were the backbone of early communities in America. These small buildings served not only the spiritual needs of the communities, but as meeting places, courtrooms, public halls, and places of celebration. Dennis Ray will serve as the tour guide on the premise of this historic church, re-opened for this Chautauqua, to learn its history and the role it played in the community.

Friday’s performance at the Methodist Church features the restored Carrico family’s string bass which was originally played from 1904-1909 at the Florida Chautauqua. Donated by the Carrico grandchildren, it was lovingly refurbished by local artisan Mr. John Lohr. Bassist Steve Gilmore provides the opportunity to hear music played once again on Maestro Carrico’s beloved bass. Bassist Gilmore and pianist Robert Van Deusen, both recognized and highly revered nationwide in their respective fields, present a program with something for everyone from classical to jazz and ragtime to pop. Click here to download 2017 printed program.

Additional Friday and Saturday programs range around the technology, science and society themes with presentations varying from supernumerary intelligence, to GIS story mapping, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and technology’s impact on foreign relations. An in-depth look at both the variety and depth of this year’s program can be found on their website: www.floridachautauquaassembly.org. The traditional teas and other historical presentations can also be further investigated on the website.

Purchase of an all-inclusive Passport is $120. For those who would like the flexibility of attending the Friday or Saturday programs, a single day ticket is available for $60 while individual breakout sessions are $10. The Friday evening dinner performance by the Walton High School Jazz band at the Civic Center is $25. The Saturday excursion to Piney Grove Church is $15 and the Friday performance of the restored Bass is $10. Tea Performances along with the Wine and Cheese Presentation are priced at $18. Tickets can be purchased during the day in person at Chautauqua headquarters, 1290 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs. To contact the Florida Chautauqua please call (850) 892-7613. To stay up to date with various events offered at the Chautauqua throughout the year, check their website: www.floridachautauquaassembly.org and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/floridachautauquaassembly .