By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
Looking for some free summer entertainment? Come on out to Cumberland Falls State Park on Aug. 4 to participate in the “History & Humor, Hummin’ & Strummin’” program provided by the Kentucky Humanities Council.
The public is invited to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Kentucky Chautauqua program, which for two decades has helped tell Kentucky’s story through interesting dramatic characters.
The council is joining with the Kentucky State Parks to help celebrate Aug. 1-5 with special programs at five state parks.
The “History & Humor, Hummin’ & Strummin’ 2012” programs will include Kentucky Chautauqua presentations, featuring actors who portray people important to the state’s history and culture.
The five-day celebration is also commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
The “History & Humor, Hummin’ & Strummin’ 2012” programs will feature traditional Chautauqua outdoor settings with a large tent, a stage, chairs for guests and refreshments. Each show will start at 6 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. They will be free to attend. Indoor facilities will be available in case of rain.
Though the event kicks off on Aug. 1, Cumberland Falls State Park event activities will begin on Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. with a tour of the falls to learn about the colorful history and geology of “The Niagara of the South.” Participants are asked to meet at the visitor’s center.
At 3 p.m. there will be a hike to Pinnacle Knob Fire Tower where participants will enjoy a spectacular view of the Cumberland Plateau as they hear how the firewatcher lived and detected fires.
From 6-10 p.m., Chautauqua presenters will perform. After each of the four performances, music will be provided by the Cumberland Falls Jammers.
“It’s a great way to learn about Kentucky’s history because all of these people do a fantastic job. They portray the characters so well that you get a feel for that person,” said Cumberland Falls State Park Naturalist Bret Smitley. Smitley said he has seen some of the performers in the past.
Some of the figures from Kentucky’s past who will be featured at the parks include Colonel Harland Sanders; Mary Settles, the last Shaker at Pleasant Hill; abolitionist John G. Fee and Pvt. William Greathouse, a young soldier in the War of 1812.
“It really is a great way to spend a Saturday night,” Smitley said, inviting the public to come out and enjoy the free event.
“We’re happy to work with the Kentucky Humanities Council to celebrate the anniversary of the Kentucky Chautauqua program at Kentucky State Parks,” said Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker. “Many of our parks have Kentucky Chautauqua events throughout the year.”
Each park will offer an afternoon activity, such as a tour or walk, before the 6 p.m. program. Restaurants at the four resort parks will be open for dinner and food will also be available at Old Fort Harrod prior to the Chautauqua event. Four Kentucky Chautauqua characters will perform at each location.
For more information, visit www.kyhumanities.org and www.parks.ky.gov.
Schedule for the five-day event:
Wednesday, Aug. 1, Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Cadiz
Thursday, Aug. 2, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton
Friday, Aug. 3, Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill
Saturday, Aug. 4, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Corbin
Sunday, Aug. 5, Old Fort Harrod State Park, Harrodsburg