Weekend festival to be held in Simpson Park, Sept. 7-8

The 29th annual Chautauqua in the Park will be held September 7-8, 2013 at Simpson Park in Chillicothe, Missouri.  This annual event, sponsored by the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chillicothe Area Arts Council, and presented by Hedrick Medical Center, has a wide variety of entertainment, activities, artists, crafts and food.  
“We have a number of new booths this year from throughout Missouri and the Midwest,” commented Lindy Chapman, Executive Director of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce.  Many artists and crafters are signed up to showcase and sell their products to the estimated 6000 people who attended Chautauqua each year from a multi-state area. “We also have a very loyal returning vendor group and are excited that they have joined us again this year.”
Wood crafts, clothing, accessories, jewelry, photography, ceramics/pottery, painting and many other types of fine arts and crafts are all represented throughout the festival. Over 110 craft, food and children’s booths have registered to date and calls are still received daily requesting information about exhibiting hand-crafted items or attending this festival.      
One unique part of the festival, the Traditional Arts area showcases the talents of spinners, weavers, broom makers and many others who take a craft back to its roots, and demonstrate at the festival. This area will again have demonstrators and vendors including a new “Llama to Loom” exhibit and demonstration throughout the weekend, as well as “The Magic of Indigo Dyeing” on Saturday afternoon.  “The Traditional Arts part of the festival is organized each year by Zelma Cleaveland – she is the driving force behind this area and we are so grateful,” stated Chapman.
The Chillicothe Area Arts Council and its Administrator, Julie Ashbrook, are the architects of the entertainment each year at the Chautauqua.  They schedule a variety of local and regional artists who share their love of music with the audience. Many different genres are represented – country, bluegrass, rock, jazz, Christian and gospel – and according to Ashbrook, “We feel that there is something for every family member to enjoy in the entertainment showcased over the weekend.  It is a wonderful concentration of talent in Simpson Park for the Chautauqua.”  Ashbrook adds, “Come sit under the large tent in front of the stage and enjoy the entertainment!”
There will also be many activities for kids during the festival, especially in the Children’s Area, which will include a petting zoo and park-wide scavenger hunt presented by the Chillicothe FFA, face painting, a dunking booth and inflatable games and activities.
A wide variety of food will be available both in the food court and throughout the park on the trails.  Many of the organizations that sell food at the Chautauqua are non-profit groups in the Chillicothe area that raise money to support charitable efforts throughout the year.
Simpson Park is closed for the festival from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening.  No car or truck traffic, golf carts, bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, recreational scooters, etc. owned by the general public are allowed in or through the park for the safety of all participants. Vendor set up time is provided on Friday afternoon and evening and on Saturday morning and vendor vehicles will be allowed during those times.  
Parking for attendees is available in and around the park, with a limited number of handicapped spaces available for those individuals with a handicapped license plate or official handicapped permit.  Those needing handicapped parking for assistance should enter through the Walnut Street gate of Simpson Park.  
Another transportation alternative is offered again this year. A shuttle service -- made possible this year by Calvary Baptist Church, Free Methodist Church and the Salvation Army – will be available from 9:30 am to 3:45 between Citizens Bank & Trust downtown parking lot and the east Washington Street entrance of the Park.
“Our 2013 Chautauqua volunteers will be wearing bright orange shirts this year,” commented Ashbrook, “If you have questions or need information at the festival, stop by the information tent in the center of the park, or look for one of our 130 volunteers.  We are so lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer group!”  
Call the Chillicothe Area Chamber at 660-646-4050 for information or questions.  The entertainment schedule can also be found online at www.chillicothemo.com – just click on the Chautauqua link on the home page.