Their mission statement is simple: spread love, laughter and light through performance and education.

The New Old Time Chautauqua is bringing their eclectic group of musicians and entertaining performers back to Southcentral Alaska for the first time since the late 1990s, according to this year's organizer Fiona Rose Worcester.

Worcester is a lifelong Alaskan who teaches language arts at Goldenview Middle School in Anchorage. She's one of nearly 60 volunteer members of the group who puts on circus-style variety shows and offers community workshops.

The New Old Time Chautauqua was founded in 1981 in part by Paul Magid of the world-famous Flying Karamazov Brothers. Magid says this is part of a larger movement, and he's proud to bring the tour back to Alaska.

"It is a combination of education, entertainment, something that started in 1874 with a huge movement in America," Magid said. "And we go to small towns throughout the greater northwest, including Alaska, and this is our first time in Anchorage I believe — at the PAC — and we're super excited to be here."

(Source: New Old Time Chautauqua /

The group aims to perform in hard-to-reach places, including Hiland Mountain Correctional Center and McLaughlin Youth Center. Apart from performing, they also offer free workshops ranging from circus skills to traditional Alaska herbal medicine.

The volunteers tour each summer and camp at each stop they make. This year's tour carries the name "Be Mary" to honor Talkeetna artist Mary Langham who passed away last spring.

Be sure to see the New Old Time Chautauqua before they leave Alaska in July. A full tour schedule and tickets are available on their website.

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