ARCHBOLD - A portrayal of Johnny Appleseed tonight kicks off a four-day traveling program of history, music, and drama here.
Along with Archbold's annual Carp Festival, which runs concurrently, a Summer on the Farm day and fiddle contest at Sauder Village on Saturday, and a benefit for children in foster care tomorrow evening, the week is expected to produce the most entertainment offerings of the year from this Fulton County community about an hour west of Toledo. Many of the events are free.
The Johnny Appleseed presentation is part of Ohio Chautauqua 2002, a mixture of education and entertainment that includes portrayals of five historical figures by trained scholars and performers.
Frontiersman Simon Kenton, Iroquois leader Chief John Logan, Indian captive Mary Draper Ingles, and frontier aristocrat Margaret Blennerhassett were chosen along with John Chapman - better known as Johnny Appleseed - for their interesting and varied visions of the frontier, as well as their connections to Ohio.
After the monologue portrayals, audiences can ask questions of the scholars while they are in character and again after the presentations. (The scholar-actors will also present programs in the Archbold Public Library and Northwest State Community College.)
The programs will begin with local entertainment under a red-and-white striped tent. The tent is on the grounds of Sauder Village. Ohio Chautauqua 2002 events are free.
Tonight, the GEMM-Dandies Barbershop Quartet will perform before Hank Fincken presents Johnny Appleseed's vision of Ohio's American Indians and white settlers living in peace.
Tomorrow, the Archbold Community Theatre Review will perform before Kenneth Hammontree portrays Simon Kenton, a hunter and fur trader who scouted Ohio for armies in the wilderness, repeatedly escaping torture and execution at the hands of Indians.
Friday, Wes Linenkugel & Band will be on stage before Debra Conner portrays Margaret Blennerhassett, who was thought to have ties to Aaron Burr and his conspiracy, in which the former vice president was accused of plotting against his own government.
Each portrayal begins at 7:30 p.m., with preprogram entertainment at 6:45 p.m.
Two programs are scheduled for Saturday, starting with the Backporch Swing Band at 3:45 p.m. before Karen Vuranch portrays Mary Draper Ingles at 4:30 p.m. Ingles was once held captive by the Shawnee Indians. Tales will be told of her escape through hundreds of miles of freezing wilderness without food or proper clothing.
The final character to take the stage will be Chief John Logan (Dan Cutler), who will tell how he strove for the peaceful coexistence of whites and Indians, but changed his dream after the murder of his family. The Defiance College Community Jazz Ensemble will perform at 6:45 p.m., followed by the presentation at 7:30.
The Chautauqua, sponsored by the Ohio Humanities Council and Ohio State University's Humanities Institute, has been presented three times this summer, first in Berea, then Xenia, and Ashland. After Archbold, it makes its final stop of the year in East Liverpool.
The Archbold dates were picked to coincide with the village's annual Carp Festival, which includes downtown sidewalk sales, a book sale at the library, and numerous sporting events such as volleyball and golf tournaments and a 5-kilometer run.
At Saturday's Summer on the Farm day, visitors to Sauder Village will be invited to try stuffing a straw tick for a mattress, washing clothes on a scrub board, churning butter, flailing wheat, and building a fence.
In the fields, a crew re-enacting historic farming operations will demonstrate gasoline-powered threshing and the making of a big dinner for the threshers.
In the fiddlers contest, 22 musicians ranging in age from 7 to 85 are expected to compete for cash prizes beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. Each is to play a hoedown and a waltz.
Oscar Velasquez, a painter from Bluffton, will demonstrate his work in oil and watercolors throughout the day Saturday at Sauder Village.
The village, on State Rt. 2 in German Township 11/2 miles north of Archbold, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9.50 for adults and $4.75 for those ages 6 to 16.
Festival food will be prepared by three local groups. The Lions Club will host its traditional Jonah fish fry from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in Ruihley Park, and St. Peter's Catholic Church will barbecue chicken from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday in Ruihley Park.
Tomorrow, the Northwest Ohio Adriel Auxiliary's ice cream social with a picnic-style meal will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in Ruihley Park. Adriel, which is linked to the Mennonite church, will raffle 10 handcrafted items including a quilted wall-hanging, nativity set, and oak footstool.
Information on all events is available from Sauder Village at www.saudervillage.org or 1-800-590-9755.