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Music-Theater-Dance

Traveling tent show to hit Rossford

Historic re-enactors part of event

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Historical characters, from left, Chief John Logan, Margaret Blennerhasset, York, Johnny Appleseed, and Oliver Hazard Perry (seated) will perform at the Chautauqua event in Rossford in July.

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If you're looking for a way to perform some civic good and perhaps learn a little history in the process, the Ohio Chautauqua 2013 in Rossford is looking for volunteers.

The traveling tent show will be in Rossford’s Veterans Memorial Park at the marina from July 9 to 13. There will be evening performances by historical re-enactors under the large red-and-white striped canopy with enough seating for 500.

The event is sponsored by the Ohio Humanities Council, which is making Rossford the third stop on the statewide summer tour. It is free and open to the public.

The word Chautauqua comes from an adult education movement that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The traveling tent show Chautauqua is a variation.

Beth Genson, marketing consultant for the Rossford Convention and Visitors Bureau, said volunteers are needed to help with the evening performances. “They'll be helping to showcase the community to visitors from both near and far,” she explained. “We need only a small time commitment.”

Volunteers are needed to help with parking, traffic, ushering, and keeping the park clean, she said. They can donate their time and services daily or just one evening from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday that week. There will be an orientation meeting at 7 p.m. July 8 in the park during which they will be introduced to the five historical performers. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided in addition to T-shirts to be worn during their volunteer hours.

Ms. Genson said prospective volunteers should contact Ivan Kovacevic at the Rossford Recreation Center at 419-666-2905 or ikovacevic@rossfordohio.com. She hopes groups and organizations step forward.

She said she's expecting a big turnout of visitors for the Chautauqua. “It's a big event. We've had bus groups call about it and people from outside the area who want to stay for a night and spend a couple of days,” she explained.

Fran Tiburzio, director of public relations for the Ohio Humanities Council and the Chautauqua coordinator, said she knows of a couple from Findlay who have scouted out Rossford and Veterans Memorial Park because they plan to attend.

“They're real Chautauqua fans,” she said. “I know a lot of people who are really excited about having a Chautauqua to attend in northwest Ohio. The most recent stop was two years ago in Lima.”

The other Chautauqua stops are Bexley, Coshocton, Lakewood, and Madison.

Chautauqua week in Rossford includes daily workshops by the performers at the Rossford Public Library, at 10 a.m. for youths and 2 p.m. for adults. The figures portrayed are Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of Lake Erie; Johnny Appleseed; Margaret Blennerhassett, an Englishwoman who lived in an estate on an island in the Ohio River; Iroquois leader Chief John Logan, and York, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Handicapped parking will be on Jennings Road. Other parking is at Eagle Point Elementary School and Rossford High School, both of which will have shuttle bus service.

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