Kentucky Chautauqua, founded in 1992, has brought to life nearly 70 people from Kentucky’s rich history. The program is sponsored by the Kentucky Humanities Council through an endowment from the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.
Chautauqua performers travel throughout the state delivering to community organizations their historically accurate dramatizations of Kentuckians who helped shape the culture and values of the commonwealth.
The 2013-2014 cast of characters includes 28 figures from Kentucky’s past, some more well-known than others, but each making a contribution to the state’s heritage.
The current Kentucky Chautauqua cast includes 28 presentations from Kentucky’s colorful history. From Reverend Newton Bush’s struggle for freedom and Pee Wee Reese’s storied career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, to the troubled life of Mary Todd Lincoln and the music of Grandpa Jones, there is a glimpse into almost every facet of Kentucky’s past.
Last week, Colonel Harland Sanders, portrayed by L. Henry Dowell, entertained history buffs at Kentucky Dam Village. He told the crowd, “I was told I’m Kentucky’s most famous citizen.”
Sanders became famous for his “finger-lickin’ good” fried chicken and his line of restaurants. He explained his life story to the crowd, asking them to imagine the meeting room was a KFC restaurant and they were all workers.
He shared how he had worked a number of jobs throughout his life, including a railroad worker, tire salesman and a farmhand before opening his first outlet for the now-famous fried chicken.
“I was in my mid-sixties,” he explained, “Most folks would be thinking about retiring but not me. By ‘63 there were more than 600 outlets selling my chicken.”
For more information and a schedule of upcoming Kentucky Chautauqua presentations visit kyhumanities.org.