Panhandle city to stage cultural event

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DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. -- Chautauqua Assembly '99 will be held in this Panhandle community, Feb. 26 to 28.

The Chautauqua Institution, an 800-acre community in upstate New York, stages an event called Chautauqua each summer. It features cultural, recreation and religious activities as well as entertainment.

The Florida event is a miniversion of the New York one. At the Florida assembly, educational topics are discussed, exhibits viewed, and concerts and stage plays presented, according to F. Diane Pickett, founder and president of Chautauqua Center here, the event's organizer.

Travel photographer Carl Purcell will be among the guest lecturers who will conduct nearly 40 seminars, Pickett said.

Other guests include authorities on Monet paintings, porcelain paintings, Russian history, vine fruits, magazine illustrations, investment strategies, pioneer women, genealogy, gardening, creative crafts and recycling.

In addition, there will be some stage productions, including one based on Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women."

DeFuniak Springs, off Interstate 10, is noted for its Victorian mansions. Most of these mansions overlook a lake in the center of the town.

There will be a tour of the city's historical buildings, including the homes, Pickett said.

During the Chautauqua Assembly '99, the Best Western, Comfort Inn and Ramada Inn will charge rates that are less than $40 per night for rooms, she said.

The Seaside resort area, near Destin, is within reasonable driving distance, she said.

Guests staying there are eligible for 20% discounts applicable to Chautauqua activities, she added.

A $25 fee allows visitors to attend most Chautauqua activities, which cover three days.

Chautauqua Assembly '99, Phone: (850) 892-4300

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