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Chautauqua History Alive! Festival Continues in Asheville


Shown here is Larry Bounds, from Greer. SC, depicting Winston Churchill in 2012 on stage at the Chautauqua Alive Festival. This year he will portray Dr. Wernher von Braun, a rocket scientist who worked with the USA space program.

In 2000, Buncombe County Chautauqua with the help of the Buncombe County Library System. in cooperation with Greenville Chautauqua, began presenting Chautauqua in Asheville, NC. Over the years the audience has laughed, cried and questioned the likes of Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Harry Truman, Rachel Carson, Malcolm X, Marie Curie, and Winston Churchill. However, with recent massive cutbacks at the Buncombe Library System, Asheville Chautauqua was in danger of disappearing. Between the cost of the performers, lodging, advertising and the venue, the local Chautauqua typically cost $12,000-$14,000 annually. Thanks to the hard work of the Save Our Chautauqua Committee, the 4-day festival will continue this June. The citizens of the area can again explore, dream, and discover engaging American personalities, people who shaped our country.

Matthew Henson (Keith Henley) SM

Matthew Henson (Keith Henley)

This year you will be able to see, hear and learn more about Mark Twain, Samuel Clements public persona, the author and humorist, portrayed by George Frein of Fort Worth, TX.; Amelia Earhart, who in 1928 became the first woman to cross the Atlantic by airplane, brought to life by Leslie Goddard of Chicago, Ill; Matthew Henson, the African-American who co-discovered the North Pole in 1909 with Robert Peary and four Eskimos, depicted by Keith Henley of Camden, NJ.; and Wernher von Braun, the Germany immigrant and rocket scientist who landed a dozen men on the moon and brought them back, portrayed by Larry Bounds of Greer, SC. The amazing details of their lives will undoubtedly make for a lively, enthralling and entertaining evening.

Mark Twain (George Frein) SM

Mark Twain (George Frein)

This year’s event, titled “American Adventures. Explore. Dream. Discover,” will be held June 20–23 at A-B Tech’s Ferguson Auditorium, 340 Victoria Road, Asheville. A musical program will begin each evening at 7 pm followed by the featured speaker at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5 a night with ample parking available. All ages will certainly enjoy these presentations of these fascinating, adventuresome people who are brought to life on stage by these talented actors and actresses.

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