Tuesday, June 23, 2009

At the Chautauqua Tent Show

I'm spending most of my evenings this weekend in downtown Lewes serving as master of ceremonies for the 11th Annual Chautauqua Tent Show. The Chautauqua is a project of the state's Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs and the Lewes Historical Society and is focused on major historical figures. Actors portraying PT Barnum, Frederick Douglas, William Shakespeare, David Douglas, The Lone Ranger, and Annie Oakley present lectures throughout the week under a smallish big-top tent. There are also afternoon family activities each day. The evenings start with music groups each evening at 6, followed by the main act at 7. The photo at right is the group Slyte of Hand, from Sunday evening.

My job is fairly simple. I thank the Delaware Humanities forum and other sponsors and funding agencies. I tout the door-prize drawing. I thank the organizing committee. I point out the restrooms. And I introduce the performers. While they are on-stage, I can wander around with my camera (as I tend to do). I have started a photo set, but so far have only posted shots from Sunday.

Monday night's show was interrupted by a heavy downpour that suggested one of the windy, heavy, thunderstorms we've been getting late. It was nasty-looking enough that organizers stopped the opening band and moved everyone into the Zwaanendael Museum (we were in a tent just outside). We split the audience into two groups; the band played acoustically upstairs while Frederick Douglas spoke to a group on the main floor. After a while, Mr. Douglas moved upstairs and the band moved back to the tent, as the storm had moved on. It was a little crazy, but I think it worked.

Tonight, there's a concert by the US Navy Commodores, part of the 2009 Lewes Summer Concert Series. so, while there will be the usual afternoon family activities, there won't be an evening show. But I'll be back before the mic on Wednesday with my notes, my smile, and my camera.
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