CHAUTAUQUA AT A GLANCE

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 05:54 PM.

The official Florida Chautauqua Assembly is an historic 4-day educational program for families featuring famous keynote speakers, educational breakout sessions, performance teas and evening dinner performances and exhibits relating to an annual theme. The public pays to attend most educational sessions of the Assembly, but all exhibits are free and open to the public.  The campus for this event is throughout the historic district and small community of DeFuniak Springs where the original assemblies took place from 1885 to 1927. The historic district is located around Circle Drive and is mostly comprised of the original campus of the Florida Chautauqua Assembly. 

Ticket prices vary to events.

·         Featured Keynote and Saturday keynote:  $15

·         Breakout Sessions:  $8

·         Breakfasts:  $8

·         Lunches:  $8

·         Performance Teas:  $20

·         Evening Dinner Performances:  $20

·         Lake Yard Exhibits – ALL FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  15,000 expected attendance based on last year’s Assembly numbers.  Guests encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and to bring their patience as parking may be difficult due to crowded conditions. Local police will direct traffic, and Circle Drive may be “one-way” only during various times.

Money saving books of tickets called “Passports” may be purchased for $135.  Upgrade that Passport to a “Platinum Passport” for $185 to attend all sessions in a Passport AND to have backstage access to meet Demond Wilson, have a photo made with him and to receive an autographed copy of his book.  All proceeds cover the costs of the Assembly.

Passports and Platinum Passports are available by calling (850) 892-7613 or online at www.FloridaChautauquaAssembly.org.  Those who wish to purchase individual tickets instead are encouraged to do so at the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood, 95 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs from Thursday, January 23 beginning at 10:00 a.m. through Saturday.

Free exhibits in the Lake Yard (Friday, Jan. 24 through Sunday, Jan. 26) include:

·         Civil War Encampments

·         Florida Frontiersman Settlement Camp

·         Buffalo Soldiers of Marianna, FL

·         Groundbreaking Television Shows – Student Museum Exhibit

·         Florida Forest Service.  1,000 trees to give away

·         Demond Wilson Tree Planting Ceremony (Friday after his presentation).  Estimated time is 11:45 a.m.  Photography and videography permitted, but Demond Wilson’s schedule at the Florida Chautauqua will prevent him from taking individual photos with the public during this time. 

·         Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge

·         Historic DeFuniak Springs Library

·         Home Depot Kids Clinic (Saturday, 10am – 2pm):  1,000 free bird houses and kits to be given away

·         Chautauqua Cruisers Antique Car Show (Saturday, 8am – 5pm)

·         Tin Can Tourist Vintage Campers

·         Plein Air Paint Out and Wet Paint Art Sale

·         Muscogee Nation of Bruce, Florida

·         Walton County Heritage Museum (select hours)

·         Florida Chautauqua History Exhibit

·         Free Sessions on the Affordable Care Act:  Friday and Saturday led by the Florida’s state informer, Linda Carmona Sanchez at Lakeside Building, 2nd Floor, 1290 Circle Drive. Friday – 1:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday — 10:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Book signing set

F. Diane Pickett, author of “Never Isn’t Long Enough,” was born in Atlanta, Ga., to a family with more than 300 years of Southern heritage in its genes. Her vision and leadership helped jump-start the revival of the historic Florida Chautauqua Assembly, widely acclaimed as one of the premier cultural and educational events of Northwest Florida.

Pickett will hold a sneak preview, reading and book signing for her first novel at  10:45 a.m. Jan. 25 at the Walton-DeFuniak Springs Library, 3 Circle Drive in DeFuniak Springs.

“Never Isn’t Long Enough” follows a field of flawed and flamboyant characters as they race through page after page of sparkling wit, drama, tragedy and conflict. This is the story of how a single mistake can turn the promise of youth into a lifelong quest for retribution. With historical integrity intact, it embodies an irreverent look at religion and the social culture of the South often masquerading as “Southern gentility.”

The “sneak preview” and book signing occurs during the Assembly and all proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit this nonprofit organization. 

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