Cannon blasts, camps, campers, car shows, live creatures and at least one international celebrity are expected to attract up to 15,000 people this weekend to the annual Florida Chautauqua Assembly in DeFuniak Springs ending Sunday, Jan. 26.
More than a dozen free exhibits will fill the Lake Yard on Circle Drive and will complement the event, including a Muscogee Indian Gathering, the Buffalo Soldiers of Marianna, a Florida Frontiersmen Settlement Camp, an Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge animal exhibit, a Florida Forest Service tented nature trail, a Walton School District student museum exhibit on Groundbreaking Television Shows, a Plein Air Paint Out and Wet Paint Art Show, and a Florida Chautauqua History Exhibit.
A porcelain art show will be at the DeFuniak Springs Community Center Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The historic DeFuniak Springs Library and Walton Heritage Museum on Circle Drive in the Lake Yard will also be open during special hours throughout the event.
Home Depot of Panama City Beach will offer a free Kids Clinic on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Amphitheater in the Lake Yard. Home Depot representatives say they will bring up to 1,000 bird house building kits and other related packets for children to build and take home for free.
A new major attraction at this year’s Assembly is the Tin Can Campers exhibit on Circle Drive. Historian of the Tin Can Tourists Tim Heintz will be found at this site displaying the biggest and oldest of the campers. He invites attendees to view refurbished 1940-60s era trailers and learn about the lifestyle of the campers who originated this club in 1919. Mr. Heintz will explain the everyday life of these “on the road” campers who visited Florida and recorded in their journals what life “on the road” entailed in those bygone days. At least 15-20 camping trailers will be showcased.
Civil War skirmishes and reenactments will be Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Chautauqua Cruisers Antique Car Show will be on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
All exhibits are free. Food vendors will be on site in the Lake Yard.
Tickets may be purchased at the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood during the event located at 95 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs. For a full schedule of all sessions and free exhibits, visit www.FloridaChautauquaAssembly.org.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
All exhibits are free and open to the public, courtesy of the City of DeFuniak Springs, Florida and the Florida Chautauqua Center, Inc
LakeYard, Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs, FL
See one of 54 active chapters of Buffalo Soldier units that commemorate the history of the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. Horses outfitted in their historic saddles will be on display. Mr. Will Barnes will be speaking about the history of the soldiers (including present day), the uniform, and the impact of integration on this historic army unit.
Saturday, January 25, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
First United Methodist Church parking lot, 88 Circle Drive,
Visitors will enjoy seeing vintage and antique cars from years gone by.
Artists will have a variety of pieces for sale. Hand painted pieces include tea pots, vases, spoon rests, plates and cups. International award winner Mary Vinson of DeFuniak Springs was the organization’s teacher for many years. Chautauqua Porcelain Artists has welcomed guest artists from all over the United States who came and had a significant influence on local artists. From Mary Vinson and guest artists, members have learned many secrets of china painting.
LakeYard, Circle Drive
Visit the men and women of The Walton Guard who will welcome you to their camp and show you their life on the battlefield during the Civil War. Then, see the great "Battle Between the States" on Saturday, 12:30 p.m. and again on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
3 Circle Drive
Craft projects are scheduled during Friday, January 24, along with a children’s story time with crafts at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Please note that the library opens at 9 a.m., and that the library will be open throughout the day on Saturday.
Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood (backside), 95 Circle Drive
EmeraldCoastWildlife Refuge - Members of this non-profit organization rescue local animals from dangerous situations and, if possible, release them back into the wild. Some animals -- like owls, foxes, skunks and birds of prey -- are ambassadors for the organization. Some will be exhibited during the 2014 Florida Chautauqua Assembly.
LakesideBuilding, 1290 Circle Drive
FloridaChautauqua History Exhibit - This is a new collection of historical photographs, documents and photos relating to the original Florida Chautauqua history and its revival. The exhibit is coordinated by Florida Chautauqua Center Historian Robert Daniel. Special thanks go to the University of West Florida, the Florida State Archives and the University of Florida’s George Smathers Library for their assistance in providing material for this display.
Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood (back side), 95 Circle Drive
A nature trail will display the flora and fauna of forests in the state with special emphasis on the historical fact that Arbor Day in Florida was inspired by a presentation in 1885 on the grounds of the historic Florida Chautauqua Assembly in DeFuniak Springs.
LakeYard, Circle Drive
FloridaFrontiersmen Settlement Camp: Visit a camp resembling the living conditions of an early Florida pioneer family. The outdoor exhibit is orchestrated by the Chilcutt family through their participation in the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship (FCF). FCF is a men to boys mentoring ministry of Royal Rangers and the Assemblies of God. The encampment is hands-on and in-use of the food, tools, weapons, crafts, and living conditions of Florida settlers from the late 1500s to the early 1900s. The encampment also has a section on the Florida Cracker Pioneers who helped settle this area. Lake Yard.
Home Depot invites you to bring the kids to the amphitheater in the Lake Yard to build birdhouses and other neat things. Building kits and hands-on instructors are provided absolutely free, courtesy of Home Depot of Panama City Beach and surrounding Home Depot stores.
LakeYard, Circle Drive
Tribe members of the Muscogee Nation will converge in the DeFuniak Springs Lake Yard to exhibit their incredible and impressive heritage through dancing, art and village life throughout Northwest Florida.
LakeYard, Circle Drive
Plein Air Paint Out - Professional artists will be dotting the Lake Yard landscape to paint their individual conception of activities, buildings, people and whatever else they envision going on in this area. Observe the artists at work. Individual finished works of art will be on display in the Hall of Brotherhood as they dry and will be available for purchase.
Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood, 95 Circle Drive
Students of the Walton County School District have assembled beautiful displays on eight television shows which have made an impact on modern American Culture: I Love Lucy, The Muppet Show, Star Trek, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, and Star Search. Learn about each of these successful shows and many fascinating tidbits about each one and the actors and actresses who starred in them.
Historian of the Tin Can Tourists, Tim Heintz, can easily be found at this site displaying the biggest and oldest of the campers. He invites attendees to view these lovingly refurbished 1940-60s era trailers and learn about the lifestyle of the campers who originated this club in 1919. Mr. Heintz will explain the everyday life of these “on the road” campers who visited Florida and recorded in their journals what life “on the road” entailed in those bygone days. At least 15-20 camping trailers will be showcased. The group’s website provides a rich display of more details: www.tincantourists.com.
1140 Circle Drive,
Visit the Walton County Heritage Museum to experience DeFuniak Springs in the early 20th Century. Exhibits highlight businesses, hotels, farm life, schools, the railroad, and military service. See tableware from Hotel Chautauqua, items that belonged to Wallace Bruce, and benches from the Chautauqua auditorium.