CANTON — Live music, nature, storytelling and more will highlight an upcoming two-day event, Canton Centennial Chautauqua.

The free, family-friendly event is from 5 to 8 p.m. July 19 and from noon to 9 p.m. July 20. Festivities will take place at Canton Island Park, West Main Street.

The park is along the scenic Grasse River, across from Heritage Park. The rain location is the Canton Recreational Pavilion, Outer Lincoln Street.

Sean O’Brien, one of the coordinators, said the gathering will celebrate 100 years since the first Canton Chautauqua was held July 17 to 21, 1919.

Music lineup for this year’s event includes The Waydown Wailers, Odis, Rob Larrabee, Bill Vitek and Maxwell Howard. Visitors are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets, but no glass bottles.

“There will be events and activities for all ages, including music, nature, storytelling and the mysterious Nerd Tent,” Mr. O’Brien said.

There will also be a feature tent where “How to Start a Band” workshops will be held to help get young musicians and roadies on their way to performing live music.

Some type of food is expected to be available, but details have not been finalized, he said.

He learned about North Country Chautauquas that were held in the early 20th century by researching archives kept by the Northern New York Library Network.

Chautauqua was a popular adult education movement in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture to many rural communities with speakers, teachers, musicians, showmen, preachers and other specialists. There is also a Chautauqua Institute in Western New York.

The 1919 Canton Chautauqua was held at the Canton fairgrounds and featured different types of music including a Canadian Brass Band and Irish singers.

Encouraging people to visit downtown Canton is another goal of the Canton Centennial Chautauqua.

“July can be challenging for Canton businesses so we are planning this inclusive event to get people moving around downtown,” Mr. O’Brien said. “We hope folks will walk around, visit our local shops, enjoy food and refreshments in our restaurants and walk down the hill to watch some talented performers.”

For updates, visit CantonChautauqua on Facebook.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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Have been a reporter since 1991

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