Famous author to be remembered at festival Aug. 16 and 17
ROME CITY, Ind. – The annual Chautauqua Days Festival, which celebrates the life of Gene Stratton-Porter, Indiana’s most widely read female author, will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, and Sunday, Aug. 17, at the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site in Rome City.
“Chautauqua Days is an annual celebration honoring Gene and her love of nature and learning. To celebrate that, we created a family-friendly event packed with guest speakers, children’s activities, live music, and of course birthday cake,” said Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site Manager Dave Fox. “We invite everyone to join us for the celebration starting with a parade through Rome City on Saturday morning, then stay for a day of fun.”
This year’s Chautauqua Days is special to Gene’s family as well. Gene Stratton-Porter’s great-great-granddaughter will visit from Massachusetts and dedicate two new trees to restore the Morning Face bench in her grandmother’s honor. Descendants of the Stratton family (relatives of Gene’s uncle) will also attend as part of their annual Stratton Family Homecoming. Dennis Stratton, an environmentally-conscious farmer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, will present each day of the festival – pollinators on Saturday and the Wilderness Preservation Act on Sunday.
In addition to family members, Bill Laden from the Noble County Historical Society will present the history of Noble County each day. Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rehabilitators with live education birds will share nature with guests.
The two-day event will also feature boat tours of Sylvan Lake with stops on Boy Scout Island sponsored by the Rome City/Brimfield Lions Club, the Taste of Herbs presentationhighlighting delicious foods prepared from herbs grown in Gene’s gardens for guests to sample, plein air painters in the Gardens, live bluegrass music on the Cabin front lawn and craft activities for children of all ages. The Trolley, a Kendallville food truck, will be on site selling coney dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and sloppy joes.
Saturday’s highlights include a parade through Rome City at 10 a.m. Following the parade, the Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society, Inc. will dedicate a tree to long-time president John Kessen. Saturday’s festivities wrap up with storytelling program Lyrics at Lakeside, which starts at 7 p.m. at Lakeside Park in Rome City.
Sunday features storyteller Lou Ann Homan sponsored by the Kendallville Public Library and Michael Mapes presents his historic Rome City post card collection.
Admission is $3 per person and free to children ages 4 and under. Cabin tours are available for a nominal fee. For more information, please call 260.854.3790. For a complete schedule of activities, Taste of Herbs menu and more, please visit genestratton-porter.com or find us on Facebook at Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site.
About Chautauqua festivals
Chautauqua festivals were a common occurrence from 1874 to the late 1920s as a means of adult education and enlightenment. Speakers, musicians, politicians and even religious leaders made presentations at these events. As a young girl, Gene accompanied her sister, then later her friend, to the Big Island Assembly on Sylvan Lake in Rome City. It was here that Gene fell in love with the natural beauty of the area, leading her back to build her Cabin in Wildflower Woods. The Big Island Assembly Chautauqua is also where Gene first met her husband Charles D. Porter. President Teddy Roosevelt said, “There is nothing quite so American as a Chautauqua….”