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Creativity and Talent Showcased
C-T 09 11 17
By Jaime Saucedo

Photos By Jaime Saucedo

At this year's Chautauqua event held over the weekend, 104 vendors in 133 total booths were on hand according to Crystal Narr, executive director of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the annual event. The excellent weather condition allowed for an estimated 8,000 people to attend the two-day event that was sponsored by Hedrick Medical Center.

New submission, Martin Oranja of Rimanto Creations, of Marshall, Missouri, was the winner of the Best in Show award. His woodwork carvings, wind chimes, wire and bottle cap creations added something new to the annual crafts show. Sponsored by Bachman Cattle Farms, the Traditional Arts area showed 24 different exhibits that included the annual exhibitions of blacksmithing, sewing, woodworking, and instrument making. Rare Air Entertainment was the new bounce house provider for the event. Out of Brookfield, they added a mechanical bull to the inflatable entertainment. The children's area was sponsored by Hy-Vee. Other key entertainment pieces were the petting zoo by FFA and the axe throwing Mountain Man Exhibit. The Chillicothe Arts Council provided the stage entertainment for the event that included performances by Kirk & Mary Lee, who performed the sounds of Folk and Americana, and Ann & Terry Brock with Jamie Pauls, who performed some country, bluegrass, jazz and classical music.

The Morton Sisters performed harmonies, while Gold Rush brought the old time rock 'n' roll to the stage. The Mic-O-Say Dancers, of the local boy scout troop, rounded out the performances with Native American dances. "We had a wonderful weekend", said Narr, "filled with great weather, big crowds and another year of new traditions being made. We extend our thanks to everyone who made it possible, including the vendors, volunteers and patrons."

33rd Annual Chautauqua in the Park Announced
September 9-10, 2017 dates of the festival this year
C-T 06 29 17
The 33rd Annual Chautauqua in the Park will be held September 9-10, 2017, at Simpson Park in Chillicothe, Missouri. This annual event, sponsored by the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chillicothe Area Arts Council, and presented by Hedrick Medical Center, has a wide variety of entertainment, activities, artists, crafts and food. Vendor registration is open for this two-day juried fine arts and crafts show. Each year, the Chautauqua has over 100 booths representing many different types of crafts and art, as well as food and farmers' market offerings. Many vendors return each year for this successful, well-attended event. Booth guidelines, as stated in the application, require that "all items sold need to be quality, original, handcrafted and/or creatively and artistically enhanced by the seller. Color photos showing detail of merchandise representative of the work to be exhibited and sold must be submitted with the application and payment." Single or double spaces are available for craft booths. Space is also available for single food booths sponsored by either non-profit organizations or for-profit ventures. These booths are generally located along the trails, interspersed with the craft booths. Farmers' Market booths are also available for those individuals or organizations who wish to sell items that are homegrown or homemade by the vendor. Generally, baked and prepared items in these booths are sold in whole quantities (half dozen, dozen, loaf, by the jar, whole pies, etc.). These booths are grouped together near the center of the park. "This is always a great weekend for our community and for northwest Missouri," according to Crystal Narr, Executive Director of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce. "We have vendors and attendees from several states and all over north, west and central Missouri." Entertainment is provided throughout the weekend in the center of the park and draws a large crowd each year. From Friday - Sunday, the park is closed to car and truck traffic, golf carts, bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, scooters, etc. for the safety of all participants. Vendor setup time is provided on Friday afternoon and evening and on Saturday morning. Parking for attendees is available in and around the park, with a limited number of handicapped spaces available for those individuals with a handicapped license plate or official handicapped permit. The regular registration deadline for all booths is July 31, 2017. After that date, applications will be accepted on a space-available basis, and a late fee will be applied. Applications for a craft, food or farmersí market vendor are available online at, from the Commerce Center offices at 514 Washington Street in downtown Chillicothe, or by calling the Chillicothe Area Chamber office at 660-646-4050.



Estimated 8,000 People Visit 32nd Annual Chautauqua in the Park
By JAY SAUCEDO / Contributing Writer 09/13/16 CT

What began as a small craft show 32 years ago has become a largely attended festivity that brings an estimated 8,000 people to the event. The event has attracted more and more vendors every year, and 2016 proved that trend gaining nine more vendors than the year before. "We had 126 vendors go through the application process this year and then we even had to process one that showed up at the gates..." said Narr. "So, this year, we had 127 vendor booths, and 25 traditional arts exhibits and that doesn't even include the food court area." Chautauqua event logistics is managed by the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce, but vendors, exhibits and entertainment are decided by the Chillicothe Arts Council. "Chautauqua is a juried event," said arts council director, Mary Lou VanDeventer, "meaning all vendor applicants must meet a certain criteria to be able to enter a vendor booth". There are four jurors who examine the applicant's product, and then as long as the criteria is met, that vendor is allowed in to Chautauqua. The main criteria is that any product must be hand-crafted by the individual or group. There are no mass produced or manufactured products allowed to have a booth at Chautauqua.

CT Photos

One of those vendors was Barbara Lee of Princeton, with Creekstone Wild Bird Castles, the 2016 Best in Show Award winner. The bird houses are made of creek stones and themed with other decorative parts and built to stand up to weather and outdoors. According to Lee, Home Depot put in a request for a 25,000-piece order that was declined. "If I did that, it would become work for me," she said. "I want to continue to enjoy making them... I guess it's become art for me, too." People's Choice Award winner, Ma-Ma Jane's Creations, makes 50 different dry mixes that you can add to any dish to flavor it. Jane Walgren, a retired teacher, started the company to help developmentally disabled women. At one point, the women needed help and Mrs. Walgren had a decision to make at home that seemed to marry an opportunity. While providing for the disabled women, the company has now grown over the past eight years. Ma-Ma Jane's Creations are now sold in about 25 stores across the Midwest and have sold about 18,000 bags so far this year. You can find Ma-Ma Jane's Creations sold at the Martin House, here in Chillicothe.

Another exhibit was the traditional arts area at Chautauqua, where attendees could find booths for wood carving, basketry, spinning, knitting, felting, weaving, pottery, paper making and blacksmithing. The Missouri Dulcimer Co. provided a presentation about how the instruments are built, and even played a little for the crowd. The lost art of story telling reminded attendees of a time before video games and electronics. The traditional arts area provided a display of how these things used to be produced and the craftsmanship that was required to make them.

The children's activity area had plenty to do, from carnival games and rides, to bounce houses with many themes. The petting zoo is always great because it allows smaller children the opportunity to interact with animals in a controlled environment. Events of this magnitude don't go on without great entertainment. All of the entertainment for the Chautauqua was provided through the Chillicothe Area Arts Council. Eleven entertainers performed throughout the Chautauqua weekend, playing and singing songs from all ages and genres. The band "Gold Rush", kept your feet moving to the beat, while the Morton Sisters brought the 1940's big band spirit with their a cappella group.



Chautauqua in the Park: Creativity and Talent Showcased
September 14, 2015

C-T Photos / Catherine Stortz Ripley

CAPTION: Artisans stayed busy both Saturday and Sunday at Chillicothe's 31st annual Chautauqua in the Park. Many vendors said they were well-pleased with the event and some said this was the best year ever in terms of sales. The weather was ideal with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s.

With clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, and a wide variety of vendors, large crowds attended the 31st annual Chautauqua in the Park this past weekend. "With this weather, things have been crazy... super... wonderful," Mark Wisner, of Smokehouse Pottery 1856, said Saturday afternoon. "Business has been non-stop all day." Smokehouse Pottery, which makes and sells handmade signs, pottery, furniture, wood items, candles and potpourri, received the most votes in the People's Choice Award balloting process of the Chautauqua. The Chautauqua is more than just an art festival; it is a juried event, which means vendors must meet certain criteria before being allowed to sell their wares. The event is sponsored annually by the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chillicothe Area Arts Council and is presented by Hedrick Medical Center. "We've had a great crowd, beautiful weather, happy vendors," said Crystal Narr, executive director of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce. "We had some vendors who completely sold out on Saturday."

The traditional arts area was a big draw for visitors with 20 different traditional arts showcased, including tinsmithing, spinning, rug hooking, metal forging, sock making, yarn dyeing, knitting, pottery, weaving, and more. The Mountain men exhibit was new this year, demonstrating how life would have been in the 1840s.

In addition to the craft and food vendors, a big draw for the Chautauqua is the lineup of local and area musicians along with the traditional arts area, presented by the Chillicothe Area Arts Council. The Chautauqua also presented entertainers, including a wide range of musical talent: Storyteller Shelly Long, The Gorsetts, Dammit Jim and the Rednecks, The Trio, The Rock N Country Variety Show, Dear Friends (Jamie Pauls and Mary Lou VanDeventer), Sean McNown, The Gorsett Twins, and the Mic-O-Say Dancers from the Boy Scouts of America.

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