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High Plains Chautauqua celebrates 20th anniversary


High Plains Chautauqua will celebrate 20 years of bringing history to life, when eight memorable figures will appear on stage August 5-8. Chautauqua offers a unique blend of theatre, history, and the humanities under the big tent where audiences meet and engage in conversation with personalities from the past. The event takes place on the Aims Community College campus. All events are free and open to the public.


Reflected in our theme “Encore! Celebrating 20 Years of Living History,” this year’s program will bring back audience favorites who performed in Greeley once or more in the past 20 years. Representing multiple time periods and disciplines, the contributions of these characters helped to shape the destiny of our nation.


New This Year

In addition to sharing the scholarship of historical characters, Chautauqua will add a community conversation following this year’s program, offering the audience an opportunity to engage in a guided discussion of issues from our history that remain controversial today.


Featured Chautauqua character favorites:

A steamboat pilot prior to the Civil War, Mark Twain (1835-1910) joined his brother in the Nevada Territory and spent the war years avoiding military service, prospecting for gold and silver, and discovering his true calling in life as a writer of humorous pieces. Following the war, Twain became one of our nation’s great literary icons, developing his reputation as a satirist who poked fun at American society, politics, racism and love of money.


Wife of one president and niece of another, Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was a remarkable political figure, social activist and diplomat. Though widely respected in her later years, Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady from 1933-1945, known for her outspokenness, particularly her stance

on racial issues. Later, she became the first U.S. Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. Throughout her life, Roosevelt embraced many human rights causes.


Thomas Jefferson (1742-1826) believed in the right of self-government leading to the establishment of meritocracy over aristocracy as a founding principle for the nation. President Jefferson radically expanded the boundaries of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase, and then sent Lewis and Clark out to explore the geography and the flora and fauna of this broad expanse. An American Renaissance man, Jefferson studied science, agriculture, and architecture as well. 


The first woman to win the Nobel Prize, Marie Curie’s (1867-1934) contributions to the fields of chemistry, physics, and even engineering, through her WWI work on radioactivity, helped open the doors to these fields to women worldwide. She chose the path of years-long perseverance in order to add to the knowledge of humankind, avoiding whenever possible the fame that came in its wake.


Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Faith in God and country led Tubman to become a spy and a nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War.


John James Audubon’s (1785-1851) field research was groundbreaking in American natural history. He painted more than 485 species of birds in their natural habitats, elevating scientific illustrations from flat, lifeless sketches to dramatic, dynamic fine art, accompanied by each bird’s life story. His commentary on the demise of the ‘America he knew’ is still an inspiration for environmental activists, and his field notes provide data needed for major restoration efforts.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American writer, naturalist, and political activist. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.


Although a New Yorker through and through, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the nation’s first cowboy president with strong ties to the West. Roosevelt’s most enduring domestic legacy is the preservation of the nation’s wildlife and natural resources. He championed federal policies which saw their greatest impact in the western states.


High Plains Chautauqua engages all ages. In addition to nightly performances, daytime programs for adults and family activities are featured. Young Chautauqua scholars present their living history portrayals as a culmination of months of independent research. This year’s HPC again will run four nights, Monday – Thursday, with a special community conversation scheduled for Friday morning, Aug. 9.


High Plains Chautauqua is made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsors; individual donors; and many, many dedicated volunteers. For more information as the 2019 HPC program is developed, visit us on Facebook or call Visit Greeley (the Greeley Convention and Visitors Bureau) at 970-352-3567.





Pronounced: Shuh-TAW-Kwa

No matter how you say it, Chautauqua is fun!            

You don’t have to know how to pronounce it—all you need to know is High Plains Chautauqua is great fun for anyone between 8 and 108!  You’ll learn a lot about history, enjoy the excitement of live theater, and it’s all free! 

• It’s a unique combination of live theater and American history.
• Folding chair seating provided under an open tent, or bring your own lawn chair or blanket!
• Food available for purchase.
• Extensive daytime program at various locations each day.
• Attendance at evening events discouraged for children under age 8.

If you’ve never been, you don’t know what you’re missing! 

For more information call the Greeley Convention & Visitors Bureau (Visit Greeley), 970-352-3567 or visit us on Facebook!