Chautauqua celebrates activities this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — The New Old Time Chautauqua will mark its 40th anniversary this Friday through Sunday during the finale of the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival.

Chautauqua events will begin Friday with an opening ceremony, dance party, and movie; merge with the Rhody Festival by participating in the Grand Parade and Cake Picnic on Saturday afternoon; put on The Big Show on Saturday night and continue on Sunday with workshops and a Chautauqua Community Congress.

Holding the Chautauqua Weekend on the same weekend as the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival makes for “a robust community event altogether,” said Megan Claflin, director of development for The Production Alliance, which is co-sponsoring the Chautauqua Weekend with the New Old Time Chautauqua .

Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children 6 to 12 years old. Those who choose to do so also can support the Chautauqua Weekend with tickets of $50, $100 or $250. All tickets provide access to all events scheduled for the weekend. They are available at, at The Food Co-op or at Littlefield Green at Fort Worden.

The original Chautauqua 100 years ago marked the beginning of a week-long gathering in Port Townsend, according to the Chautauqua Week website.

“Communities throughout the Olympic Peninsula traveled to ‘the City of Dreams’ to participate in civic action and enjoy a myriad of artistic performances,” the website said.

“On Rhododendron Festival weekend, the New Old Time Chautauqua — an anachronistic troupe with a 40-year history in the Northwest — returns to Port Townsend to revive these traditions and renew connections across generational and cultural divides.”

The highlight of the Chautauqua Weekend, The Big Show, will feature acrobatic, comedic, musical and vaudeville-style performances from more than 20 acts.

Among them are the The Flying Karamazov Brothers, which have been centered in Port Townsend since 1986.

Paul Magi, aka Dmitrti Karamazov, co-founded the New Old Time Chautauqua in 1981.

The troupe has played on and off Broadway, in movies — such as The Jewel of the Nile — and on television shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman, Seinfeld and Ellen.

Also included will be Tom Noddy, who has presented Bubble Magic on television and at conferences, theaters and nightclubs; Artis the Spoonman, who turns spoons into avant-garde percussion; Joey Pipia, Port Townsend magician; Unexpected Brass Band, Port Townsend’s New Orleans-style band — which also will perform Friday night — and many other performers: Jim Page, Amy Engelhardt, Alex Stein, Henrik, Mud Bay Jugglers, Ty Vennewitz and Maureen Monroe, Jason Webley, Shawn and Sadie, Dusty Rhodes, Jason Serinus, Godfrey Daniels, Fiona Rose, Pom Collins, Kym Trippsmith, Fighting Instruments of Karma Chamber Band and Orchestra.

Here is the schedule of events:


Events are at Littlefield Green, Fort Worden State Park.

• 5 pm to 7 pm — Weekend registration and community picnic.

• 7 pm — Opening Ceremony by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

• 7:30 pm — Kosmopolis offering European folk, Parisian swing, Americana, Celtic and jazz music.

• 8 pm — Dance Party with Unexpected Brass Band.

• 9 pm — Outdoor Movie “PT Shorts,” which will showcase work of Port Townsend filmmakers Andrea Love, Tomoki Sage, Thea O’Dell and Michael McCurdy.

After 30 minutes of visions of experimental animation, comedy sketches and the Port Townsend in-person premiere of “Tulip,” an animated adaptation of Thumbelina will be followed by a question-and-answer period with filmmakers.


Events are in several locations.

• 1 pm — Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade from Uptown to Downtown. Registration for the Grand Parade will be from 8 am to noon at the Port Townsend Visitor Center.

The Production Alliance and New Old Time Chautauqua will be the final entries in the parade and all are welcome to jump in and march behind the group’s 1978 Cadillac flatbed to the 10th anniversary of Cake Picnic.

• 3 pm — 10th annual Cake Picnic at Pope Marine Plaza.

Thousands of slices of locally made artisan cake to be served free. Live music, dancing and performances by the New Old Time Chautauqua are planned.

• 7 pm — The Big Show at McCurdy Pavilion, Fort Worden State Park. Doors will open at 6:30 pm


Events are at Littlefield Green, Fort Worden State Park.

• 2 pm to 4 pm — New Old Time Chautauqua workshops at Littlefield Green and Building 204.

The 45-minute workshops will include Juggling; Hula Hope; A Pop-Up Movement Circus Taster including Balance, Acrobatics, Partnering work, Object Manipulation and Games; ukulele; puzzle making; magic; Quilting: Playing Spoons; Song Swap; kumihimo; Spontaneous Storytelling; Picking and Planting Fruit Trees; Word Portraits; Found Collage Art, Playing with Planet Earth; Fundamentals of Storytelling; “Still Here” — An Indigenous Perspective; The Doctrine of Discovery: the Christian Legal Justification for Native American Land Seizure and Genocide: “Why I’m Here” — personal origin stories of how you and your ancestors came to be in the United States and others.

Face masks will be required for all indoor workshops.

• 4 pm — PT Lottery tickets will be sold in advance for $5 each to benefit the New Old Time Chautauqua’s traveling performances. Tickets will be $10 each at Littlefield Green and Cake Picnic during Chautauqua Week, with sales ending at 7 pm Saturday.

Everyone wins, organizers said, adding that prizes will be primarily experiential, the contest being based loosely on a short story by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, “The Babylon Lottery.”

• 5 pm to 8 pm — Chautauqua Community Congress will offer presentations and dialogue from tribal leaders and local and state elected officials, followed by community discussion.

While the Chautauqua is rolling out events, the Rhody Festival, which began Wednesday with Trike Races, continues today with a Pet Parade at 4:30 pm on Lawrence Street from Harrison to Quincy streets. Registration begins at 3:30 pm, with check–in and assembly at Van Buren and Lawrence streets. no judging.

On Friday, the Rhody Fest will offer a Kiddies Parade at 3:30 pm beginning on Lawrence Street from about Quincy to Jackson streets, then left on Jackson to Chetzemoka Park.

The Hair and Beard Contest registration is at 5:15 pm with judging at 5:30 pm at Water Street at the American Legion Hall. And the Bed Races will begin at 6:30 pm on Water Street from Monroe to Madison streets.

On Saturday, the Rhody Grand Parade is at 1 pm, the Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open begins at 8 am at the Port Townsend Golf Course, 1948 Blaine St.

The Sunrise Rotary Running of the Balls is at 12:30 pm on Monroe Street; Rhody Run Registration is from 3 pm to 7 pm at the Arts Building at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 4907 Landes St.; and a Spaghetti Feed is from 4 pm to 7 pm at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St.

On Sunday, the Rhody Fest’s Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open begins at 9 am, the Rhody Run begins at 9 am at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and Sather Park on Morgan Hill will be open to the public from 10 am to 1 pm to view Pacific Rhododendrons .

The New Old Chautauqua/The Production Alliance’s 1978 Cadillac Eldorado, which will bring up the rear of the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival parade on Saturday, will lead the way to the Cake Picnic.

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