North Platte announces Chautauqua highlights

The community of North Platte has planned a five-day schedule of events surrounding the visit June 23-27 of “Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties,” the Nebraska Humanities Council’s 2010 Chautauqua program.

The schedule includes a “Dust Bowl” exhibit of photographs, a youth day camp and youth workshops. Among the opening-day events is a 6 p.m. social at Cody Park to meet the Chautauquans with local entertainment beginning at 5 p.m.

Main events will be held each evening June 23-27 at Cody Park, located at 1400 N. Jeffers St. Evening stage performances offer local entertainment and first-person interpretations of historical figures from the era of the Great Depression. Evening Chautauqua sessions begin at 7 p.m. Daytime workshops will be held for adults and youth of all ages. All events are free and open to the public.

Scholars will portray five historical characters who helped shape America’s response to the Great Depression. The scholars are Doug Watson as humorist Will Rogers, Patrick McGinnis as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Fred Krebs as Louisiana governor and U.S. Sen. Huey Long, Tonia M. Compton as evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson and Wanda Schell as WPA folklorist Zora Neale Hurston.

A collaboration of the Nebraska Humanities Council and the Kansas Humanities Council, the Chautauqua also visits Columbus June 16-20, with additional visits in Colby, Kan., June 2-6, and Belleville, Kan., June 9-13.

The “Bright Dreams, Hard Times” Chautauqua is funded, in part, by a major three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the NEH’s special “We The People” initiative.

For additional information on this summer’s Chautauqua, go to the North Platte Chautauqua web site at: or the Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua website,, or contact Kristi Hayek at (402) 474-2131 ext. 108 or local co-coordinators Don Kurre and Ann Milton.

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