Chautauqua History Comes Alive Festival - Greenville

Chautauqua History Comes Alive Festival - Greenville

Saturday, Jun 13, 2020 at 10:00am


Chautauqua History Comes Alive Festival: Reinventing America

Starring: Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Hedy Lamarr and Rosa Parks

Get ready to laugh, cry and flat out have a great time at this ten-day – two-weekend festival of non-stop live history and fun for the whole family.

40 shows performed in costume by nationally acclaimed historical interpreters. And almost all the shows are FREE.

Meet American game-changers – hear their stories – ask them how they re-invented their world.


10:00am - 11:00am: Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr performed by Judith Kalaora

Join us at the Greenville Downtown Airport in the Hangar of the Runway Cafe for a morning of fun for the whole family. Enjoy the planes, Runway Park and the Military History Museum and Education Center.

And meet a beautiful Hollywood star! But wait Hedy Lamarr is much more than a pretty face. Howard Hughes, airline magnate appreciated her mind so much he gave her complete access to his team of scientists to help her execute any of her inventions. Hedy thought his airplanes were “too slow” so she designed a new wing shape for his planes.

From 1942 to 1945, the Greenville Downtown Airport served as a US Army Air Corps glider base. Not only is the Greenville Downtown Airport the busiest general aviation airport in the state, it is so much more. Enjoy a meal or drinks at the Runway Café and watch the planes take off and land. Bring the kids to Runway Park and have fun outdoors amid aviation history. Schedule a tour or school field trip. Check out all the aviation businesses housed here. Or take to the skies yourself and learn to fly at one of GMU’s flight schools.

Location: Runway Cafe at Greenville Downtown Airport, 21 Airport Rd Ext, Greenville, SC 29607

Cost: Free

2:00pm - 3:00pm: Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison performed by Hank Fincken

He was the classic Yankee tinkerer, quintessential workaholic, serial inventor, prolific genius, and overwhelming force of nature driven by compulsive creativity with a gift for turning big dreams into everyday reality. Nearly all his inventions came after thousands of experiments that failed but taught him something. (The only device that worked on the first try was the phonograph.)

Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents including the light bulb, phonograph, microphone, motion pictures, fluoroscope, rechargeable batteries, stock ticker, and mimeograph – not including others, such as the X-ray fluoroscope that he left unlicensed for the benefit of medicine.

But perhaps Edison’s greatest legacy is as creator of the modern R&D laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ which he called an “invention factory,” where constant experimentation was the necessary prelude to discovery. He not only hatched a new culture of innovation, he reinvented the whole way we go about it.

Location: Hartness Performing Arts Center at Christ Church School, 245 Cavalier Dr, Greenville, SC

Cost: Free

7:30pm - 9:00pm: Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks performed by Becky Stone

Sometimes when the status quo needs to be shaken up, it is necessary to take a stand. Other times, one must courageously take a seat. Rosa Parks is best known for being arrested for sitting in the wrong bus seat. But Parks was not an apolitical, middle-aged lady whose fatigue kept her seated. Hers was an act that radically changed America to reinvent itself.

Founded on the opinion that human beings can be owned by others, America placed its democracy in the hands of free white landed males. It took a bloody Civil War before America abolished slavery. Soon after, Jim Crow laws, lynching and voter suppression changed it back into a nation where rights were brutally divided along color lines.

By the 1950’s a different America was emerging. Brown vs Board of Education ruled racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. And a woman named Rosa Parks and a whole new concept of Civil Rights was about to reinvent American democracy.

There are chairs under the Tent. Or bring your own lawn seating. Tent is located at the 800 E Faris Rd entrance.

Rain site for show is Auditorium behind the Tent.  On day of performance, look on the website Home page for weather updates.

Location: Greenville Technical College, 506 S Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville, SC.

Cost: Free