On Friday, Mary Powell of the CSHA said fundraising efforts had recently stalled with $2,000 left to raise but, luckily, a benefactor had agreed to make up that difference with a donation set to be made some time this week.
"People are good to us," Powell said. "When they see our backs are against the wall, they come through for us."
The Ohio Humanities Council, which sponsors Ohio Chautauqua, requires host communities to kick in $7,500 towards Chautauqua's visit with the annual program costing the OHC around $175,000. For months now, the CSHA has been attempting to raise that $7,500 to secure the visit and with June being the deadline to submit funding, coming up with the cash became a mad dash to the finish line - but the pertinent fact is, the finish line was crossed and on time.
"We have met our goal and everything is ok for Chautauqua to visit" Powell said.
Bringing Chautauqua will not only affect the CSHA but tourism in Meigs County. During Chautauqua's last visit in 2005, Chester Commons saw hundreds of visitors from 22 Ohio counties and 12 states, according to CSHA members. Ohio Chautauqua more recently visited Gallia County.
As for the visit to Meigs County, it will happen July 12-16 at Chester Commons and have a Civil War theme which many believe make it well-suited to the area considering Meigs County is home to the Civil War's only significant land battle fought in Ohio.
As for how Chautauqua works - first of all, it's free and includes a tent which houses 500 people. The program typically begins in early evening with around 30 minutes of music and a scholar/actor portraying a historical figure for around 45 minutes. The audience then has a opportunity to ask questions of the scholar/actor while they're in character, afterwards, the audience can ask the scholar/actor questions while out of character. During the day, Chautauqua offers free educational programs geared towards both adults and children - these events will be held at the Pomeroy Library, Syracuse Community Center, Riverbend Arts Council and Chester Courthouse. Again, all events are free.
This year's Chautauqua characters are: President Abraham Lincoln; surgeon, POW and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Mary Edwards Walker; physician, journalist and highest-ranking African American Union soldier, Maj. Martin Delany; Confederate socialite and abolitionist Mary Boykin Chestnut; known as a Union soldier, spy and Underground Railroad conductor, Harriet Tubman.
Call (740) 985-9822 or (740) 992-2622 for information on Ohio Chautauqua in Chester.