Plains Chautauqua reaches decade mark

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2016


PLAINS — The 10th annual Plains Chautauqua offers an exceptional opportunity to explore Georgia’s presidential history that will focus on former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Franklin Roosevelt and first ladies Rosalynn Carter and Eleanor Roosevelt and their connections to the state.
Annette Wise, president of Plains Historical Preservation Trust, one of the four sponsoring organizations, said the event is planned for Friday, Oct. 7 through Sunday, Oct. 9.
Highlights include a guided walking tour of historic Plains, a visit to the Little White House in Warm Springs, a talk by author Kay Lanning Minchew who recently released her second book about FDR: “A President in our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia,” addresses by President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and a Sunday school lesson taught by the former president at Maranatha Baptist Church.
Wise says Friday’s highlights include a native plant sale of host plants for butterflies common in this area including milkweed — the only plant Monarch butterflies lay eggs on that is set from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Plains Visitor Center on U.S. Highway 280 and is open to the public. Wise will address Rosalynn Carter’s interest in butterflies and the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail. In addition, Karen Rawlins, UGA Extension Service, will talk on native plants and conservation in Georgia and Ernest Koone, president of Lazy K Nursery and the largest grower of native plants and conservation in Georgia, will lead a session.
Other speakers include Bernstine Hollis of the Carter Center, Atlanta, former campaign worker at the Plains Depot during the 1976 presidential campaign; “My Hometown Talk and Dessert” with Plains residents, a tour of the Plains Historic Inn, topped off that evening with dinner and program with the keynote address delivered by President Jimmy Carter who will speak on his political career and will be followed by author Minchew who will talk about her book on FDR.
On Saturday participants leave by chartered bus to Warm Springs and the Little White House. The visit will include a portrayal of FDR by actor James Fowler, guided tours; tour the Little White House and historic springs used by FDR; a southern style lunch in Warm Springs before returning to Plains for an evening dinner featuring an address by Rosalynn Carter. She will speak on her role as first lady and life in the White House and Kathy Kaemmerlens will give a portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt.
President Carter will deliver a Sunday school lesson Sunday morning.
Other than the Plains Historical Preservation Trust, other sponsoring organizations of Plains Chautauqua are the Plains Visitors Center, Plains Historic Inn and the Georgia Humanities Council.
In 2006, Plains Historical Preservation Trust created the Plains Chautauqua that originally focused on evening events featuring performances, an artist, authors and various speakers. The Trust’s board of directors expanded it to a three-day event in 2013 to include performances, artists, authors and various speakers. During that time participants attend sessions which they have preselected.
“We offer a weekend passport that includes most meals, performances, speakers, trips and sessions,” according to Wise. “The weekend passport is $150 per person.”
Anyone interested in this year’s event can register at

South Georgia Technical College’s John Watford, right, addresses 2015 Chautauquans.

South Georgia Technical College’s John Watford, right, addresses 2015

The Plains Chautauqua is based on the Chautauqua Institution dating back to the late 1800s, having been founded as the on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State. Chautauqua is dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a program that explores the important religious, social and political issues of our times; stimulates provocative, thoughtful involvement of individuals and families in creative response to such issues; and promotes excellence and creativity in the appreciation, performance and teaching of the arts.
The Plains Chautauqua experience, like the original institution, is based on one’s engagement in four program areas: the arts, religion, education and recreation.