Scholars involved with the Ohio Chautauqua program arrived in Marietta earlier this week and folks from all over have been filing into town behind them, enjoying not only their presentations but also Marietta's many attractions.
Officials with some local attractions said they've seen a significant increase in traffic this week, including Valley Gem Capt. J.J. Sands.
"A lot of people follow it," he said. "I didn't realize how big of an event this really is."
ROB DECAMP Special to the Times
Jeremy Meier performed as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry at 7:30 p.m. Thursday under a tent on the Marietta College Campus
Chautauqua continues at 10:30 a.m. today, when a youth workshop titled "A Star Spangled Banner" will be held on the Valley Gem at 601 Front St. An adult workshop titled "Women on America's Western Frontier" will be held at 2 p.m. today on the Valley Gem.
Sands said he hopes folks will stay on the boat between the events.
"In between those two Chautauqua events we have a sightseeing tour from 12 to 1:30," he said. "We go down the Muskingum and up the Ohio (rivers) around Buckley Island and come back to our landing. The portside cafe is open so they can have sandwiches."
Ohio Chautauqua 2012 schedule
10:30 a.m. - Youth Workshop, "A Star Spangled Banner" (Valley Gem, 601 Front St.)
2 p.m. - Adult Workshop, "Women on America's western frontier" (Valley Gem
6:45 p.m. - Music (Main tent, Marietta College)
7:30 p.m. - Chief Logan (Main tent, Marietta College)
10:30 a.m. - Youth Workshop, "Adopted by Indians" (Ohio River Museum, 601 Front St.)
2 p.m. - Adult Workshop, "York, William Clark, slavery and American history" (Ohio River Museum)
6:45 p.m. - Music (Main tent, Marietta College)
7:30 p.m. - Johnny Appleseed (Main tent, Marietta College)
The tour, he added, is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and $6 for children. He said it is offered daily throughout the summer.
Fleming resident and local Chautauqua volunteer Chris Cavalier, 54, said she's been told it's Chautauqua as well as Marietta's other attractions that's drawing out-of-towners.
Cavalier met a group of four women at Tuesday's living history performance who told her they attend Ohio Chautauqua every year. From the sites available, they choose one to which they've never been.
"They said, 'Oh, we knew all the sites this summer and we wanted to come to Marietta,'" she said.
When Cavalier offered to suggest some places to visit while they were in town, the women told her it wasn't necessary.
"They said, 'We're going here and here and here.' They've got the checklist," she said, noting a ride on the Valley Gem was one of the things on their itinerary.
Ohio Chautauqua kicked off in Marietta Tuesday and continues through Saturday. It stops later in the summer in Urbana, Burton, Gallipolis and Warren.
With a theme of "When Ohio Was the Western Frontier," the program aims to teach both children and adults about the state's early years through music, workshops and presentations.
Thursday's presentations included a youth workshop titled "Telling a tall tale" and an adult workshop titled "The American Indian perspective." Both were held at the Betsey Mills Club in Marietta.
For the day's main event, scholar Jeremy Meier performed as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry at 7:30 p.m. Thursday under a tent on the Marietta College campus.
Thursday morning's youth workshop, attended by nearly 200 children from area summer camps, was led by Chautauqua scholar Marvin Jefferson, of New Jersey. He put the children in groups of 20 and asked them to come up with tall tales, just as Lewis and Clark expedition member York might have done in a tavern in the 1800s.
"Because he had traveled so far and no one else had done it, it was very hard to deny him," Jefferson said.
Ely Chapman camper Nick Kelsey, 10, said he had fun during the workshop.
"When we were acting out the animals (as part of an acting exercise) that was the most fun part for me and I also liked the story time because everyone was making up funny stuff," said Kelsey, of Marietta.
Tuesday's youth and adult workshops were held at the Campus Martius Museum on Second Street. Museum services coordinator Christina Graham said 152 children participated in the youth workshop and a more than 50 adults showed up for the adult workshop.
She said many people in town for Chautauqua have visited the museum.
"We're normally closed on Tuesday but a lot of people stayed to look around on Tuesday," Graham said. "On (Wednesday) we were busy, we were very steady...that was good for us."
She pointed out that Saturday's workshops will be held at the Ohio River Museum on Front Street and she expects that people will stay there to check out the exhibits.
Mound Cemetery tours have also been quite popular this week, according to Scott Britton, executive director of The Castle on Fourth Street.
The guided tour, offered by docents from The Castle, is new for this summer.
"We're doing them each day this week specifically because Chautauqua is here and we've had some folks take us up on that and we've been out every day," he said. "Normally it's just on Saturdays throughout the summer at 10 a.m."
The tour is $5 per person. Britton said a tour will be held at noon today and at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday.
He said the number of tours given at The Castle has not increased this week, but he's not discouraged by that.
"Even if they're not able to be here I think it's been a good thing because people are coming to Marietta," he said. "We'll get a lot of return visitors even if they can't hit all the museums while they're here."