Crews Prepare for 2014 Florida Chautauqua Assembly

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Chautauqua Assembly members have been planning for this year's assembly for the past year.

They spent most of Wednesday setting up tables and chairs for different events, and preparing to accommodate close to 15,000 people.

They follow a road map of success, that dates back to the first assembly held in 1885, nearly 129 years ago.

"We try to keep the same format,” said Christopher Mitchell, Program Chair for the Chautauqua Assembly. “You come in and hear our famous keynote speaker. Back then you would have heard the Governor of Ohio, William McKinley. Then you go into breakout sessions, which are the same as they were back then. Then you come back at night for some type of entertainment of some kind."

The original assemblies in DeFuniak Springs ran from 1885 to about 1927.

The organization held its first fully revived assembly back in 1996, and it has continued to grow.

This year, as in year's past, food will be an important part of the event.

Chautauqua Food Coordinator Linda Daniel, along with students from Walton High Schools Culinary Program, will be feeding 1,500 people a day.

"A lot of preparation,” stated Daniel. “A lot of planning, a lot of shopping, we do several trips to the store to get all the supplies that we need."

This year's theme is “A Journey into the World of Motion Pictures.”

The keynote speaker will be Demond Wilson co-star of the 1970's hit TV series Sanford and Son.