Walking through history

For a community that appreciates the past, Ohio Chautauqua and Warren are a match made in history.

Chautauqua’s return to Warren in 2014 marks the fifth time that Ohio Humanities, which houses the Chautauqua program and selects five locations annually, has visited the community in its 16 -year history.

Cities throughout Ohio submit proposals to Ohio Humanities for bringing the program to their area. Warren last hosted the event in 2012. Since the council refreshes characters every other year, Warren was not eligible to host during the 2013 season.

Ohio Chautauqua is sponsored and presented by Ohio Humanities. It will be hosted locally by the Tribune Chronicle and the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, and is in partnership with Trumbull 100 and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau, with support from the Warren Library Association.

Sue Shafer, community events coordinator for the Tribune Chronicle, said that the pairing of Warren and Ohio Chautauqua is a simple case of supply and demand.

“The people of Warren just love and appreciate history,” Shafer said. “There is a lot of (local history in Warren), and there are a lot of people here who enjoy history.”

Ohio Chautauqua coordinator Fran Tiburzio said Warren’s continued support of the event is one of the reasons the city was selected for this year’s tour, which features five nights of programming presented under a large red-and-white striped tent.

“I can tell you that we absolutely love Warren,” Tiburzio said. “Every time we brought the program to Warren, we have been met with incredible enthusiasm from the community and we always see just outstanding attendance.”

Tiburzio said that it is Warren’s strong support for the program that has organizers considering making the city a cornerstone of the program.

“We’re looking for communities that we can consider a ‘home base’ of sorts around the state,” Tiburzio said. “We would like to find some cities that we can always return to in even numbered years and not have to start over (with explaining the program), and Warren is one of those cities that we are definitely considering.”

This year’s theme revolves around the theme of “Journey Stories,” and will feature historical figures that represent a wide range of physical, intellectual or philosophical endeavors.

This year’s scholars will portray Titanic survivor Edith Russell, ’49er on the California Trail J. Goldsborough Bruff, Indian captive Olive Ann Oatman, philosopher Henry David Thoreau and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Tiburzio said that this year’s theme was partially inspired by the success the Smithsonian Institution has experienced with its traveling exhibition on American journey stories.

“What the Smithsonian did with (its program) really resonated with a lot of people, and we decided to give the idea of journey stories a shot with Chautauqua,” Tiburzio said. “We always want to make the program something that people will want to return to all five nights, and I think we’ve succeeded with the theme of real physical, as well as metaphysical, journeys.”

Ohio Chautauqua will be in Warren from June 24 to 28, the second stop on a five-city tour. In addition to the evening programs in the tent set up on the festival grounds of the riverwalk along Mahoning Avenue in Warren, daytime workshops for children and adults will be offered each day at the library.