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Dakota Chautauqua returns to County Fair

The Dakota Chautauqua tent show will return to the Dakota County Fair Aug. 6 through 12, 13 years after its first performance in 1999. The Chautauqua is titled "Minnesota Bits of Trivia," portrayed through song, comedy and narrative performed by a cast of nine actors/singers/musicians. They will perform original music written by Eric Peltoniemi, and script and lyrics written by Dewy Roth and Pete Martin, who is also directing.

The free shows will entertain fairgoers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Thursday at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The Chautauqua tent will be set up in Dakota City Heritage Village, 4008-220th St. W., Farmington, on the western edge of the Dakota County Fairgrounds. Dakota City is a 1900-era agricultural village and museum that features 22 authentic historic buildings.

The Chautauqua was an adult education movement that was highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, according to Pearl Shirley, Dakota City president. The shows brought entertainment and culture to rural communities through entertainers, musicians, speakers and teachers.

The Dakota Chautauqua was created in 1999 in observance of Dakota County's Sesquicentennial celebration. The performances continued for seven years before being downsized and then discontinued because of monetary challenges.

The tent show is sponsored in part by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture through funding from the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature. For more information about the Chautauqua, call Dakota City at 651-460-8050.