“We have been planning this for a couple years and it is a pretty big deal for northern Ohio as Ohio Humanities only picks four cities from across Ohio each year,” said Milan Township trustee Dan Frederick. “Our local planning committee includes Milan Township, the village of Milan, Edison Local Schools, Milan library, chamber of commerce and the museums. Community support and public interest in this event has been great so far. We are hoping to attract a couple hundred visitors each night of the event.”
This is the first time the event has stopped in Milan.
“It has been in the area about 20 years ago in Huron,” Frederick said. “We think downtown Milan is a distinctive setting for this event. There is a strong history following in Milan and Norwalk and the area in general. This fits well in our area. We did apply for it a year ago and we were turned down because they had some communities they were committed to. Hopefully this will return to Milan in a couple of years. If it is well received they will return to successful communities.”
Frederick said the community received “a significant grant” from the Lange Trust of Sandusky Library to cover the costs.
“This will be good for the businesses in town and that is what the chamber is looking for,” Frederick said. “And the schools and library are involved for the educational events. The trustees always are interested in getting visitors in town and the museums will support anything that is historical related. Lake Erie Shores and Islands Visitors Bureau has been very helpful in putting this together.
“They pick four towns in different parts of the state. We expect people from Northwest Ohio to attend this.”
There will be adult educational presentations at 4 p.m. each day at the library. There will be youth programs at noon Tuesday and Wednesday at the Sandusky library and Saturday (10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon) at the Milan library.
“Those are going to be really fun for the kids,” Frederick said.
Ohio Chautauqua is a five-day community event that combines living history performances, music, education and audience participation into a one-of-a-kind experience for the entire community.
After its debut in 1874 as a summer class for Sunday school teachers, Chautauqua assemblies quickly expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. Chautauqua assemblies brought entertainment and culture for the whole community with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America.”
The event, presented by Ohio Humanities, will take place in the Milan Square with performances over five straight nights. Live music will begin at 6:30 p.m. with performances beginning at 7:30. All of the performances are free.
Here is the entire schedule:
• Tuesday, June 27 — Marie Curie; Music by the Lyme Village Pioneer String Band.
• Wednesday, June 28 — Chief Cornstalk; Music by Phil Weilnau.
• Thursday, June 29 — Mary Shelley; Music by Acoustic Scotty.
• Friday, June 30 — Dian Fossey; Music by The OSU Alumni Band of Erie County.
• Saturday, July 1 — Theodore Roosevelt; Music by The Moorhens.
Milan will be the last of four stops for Ohio Chautauqua this summer. The first was June 6 to 10 in Burton, the second is this week in Clifton and the third is June 20 to 24 in Warren.
“We just think it’s a great time to share the historical environment here in Milan,” Frederick said.