One hundred years ago, the great nations of the world agreed to an armistice that ended World War I, the war to end all wars. The 6th Annual Bishop Hill Chautauqua will commemorate The Great War with guest appearances from the major players, including Winston Churchill, General “Black Jack” Pershing, and President Herbert Hoover. This free public event will be held in the gazebo in the Village Park, and runs from 11:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday August 25th, 2018.
Winston Churchill, as portrayed by Kevin Radacker, will start the day at 11:00 a.m. with his insights and reflections on England’s role in WWI and the aftermath of the war. Kevin Radaker is a Professor of English at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. He is a veteran of fifteen summer Chautauqua tours and performs throughout the United States.
At 1 p.m., General “Black Jack” Pershing will share his story as the Supreme Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. More than any other man, John J. Pershing became the face of the U.S. Army in the early 20th century. Ron Edgerton, who portrays Pershing, is a retired Professor of Asian History at University of Northern Colorado.
At 2:15 p.m., Mike Cheesman will share “The Soul of the Soldier.” Through the songs and stories from the Great War, Mike gives us a glimpse of the patriotism that drove so many to the battlefields; the sacrifice of the soldiers and their loved ones as the war lingered on; and the heroism of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict. He will also give an evening concert at The Commons of folksongs from his homeland, England, “Across the Pond.”
President Herbert Hoover will deliver his Armistice Day address from 1929, looking back at his role in the humanitarian effort to feed Europe during and after the war and looking forward to a path towards a more lasting peace. When the United States entered the war, he launched the massive “Food Will Win the War” campaign. President Hoover will be portrayed by Bishop Hill’s resident storyteller and author, Brian “Fox” Ellis.
Throughout the day, World War 1 exhibits will be on display throughout the town. Displays created by Ian Houghton and Mike Johnson will be located near the park gazebo. Both the Henry County Museum and the Steeple Building Museum will also have special exhibits reflecting on the local connections to WWI. In addition, Sweet Annie Primitives will have their Autumn Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hear the true tales of what shaped us as a nation from the people who lived it. Humor and a deeply personal perspective mean that history has never been this much fun! Folks are encouraged to bring a lawn chair; and plan to come early to eat lunch in one of three restaurants, visit museums and craft shops. This free public event is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, private donations, and the Twinflower Inn Bed and Breakfast. For more information, call 309-927-3899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .