Tecumseh drama runs through Aug. 31

CHILLCOTHE – If they’re not rained out for the third weekend in a row, a Graysville woman and her daughters will make their annual pilgrimage west to Ohio’s first capital in a couple of days.

Their trip this weekend will mark the third time Gloria Anthony, 37, has taken her daughters or other female family members for a girls’ weekend to take in the whole experience of Chillicothe’s outdoor drama, “Tecumseh!”

“Some friends of mine told me about it,” Anthony said. “It is so real.”

Anthony said during their trip in 2012, they were so into the story that when one actor was supposed to walk up behind another actor, her daughter, Alexis, who was 6 or 7 at the time, stood up in the audience and yelled, “Look out!”

In its 41st year of production, “Tecumseh!” is a nationally recognized outdoor drama that tells the story of the Shawnee leader trying to save his homeland from the United States government during Tecumseh’s War and the War of 1812. He was able to unite several tribes into a confederacy -Tecumseh’s Confederacy- to lead opposition to the U.S.

Tecumseh is thought to have been born in March 1768 near present-day Chillicothe. Chillicothe comes from the Shawnee word, “Chalagawtha,” meaning principal village.

Tecumseh was killed during the Battle of Thames on Oct. 5, 1813, at Moraviantown, near Chataham, Ontario, Canada.

The outdoor drama uses dramatic music, sound, horses, period costumes and times of action and drama to tell the story.

Beth Beatty, producer, said evening of battle sequences, choreography, dancing, horses, weapons and fights scenes make the historical and educational aspects of the story more entertaining.

Melody Young, executive director of the Chillicothe-Ross County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said when people call or write into the CVB about “Tecumseh!” she will get them to participate in the backstage tour, which explains how the production crew pulls off the show, especially the special effects, such as the blood, However, Young advises against bringing children younger than 6 because they might be afraid of the gunshots, explosions or horses.

Young said visitors are coming to see “Tecumseh!” and sticking around to enjoy Adena Mansion & Gardens, the restored home of Thomas Worthington, Ohio’s sixth governor and the Father of Ohio statehood; Hopewell culture burial sites, connected with those here in Marietta; the downtown area with quaint shops and self-guided tours.

Anthony said her group participates in the banquet before the show as well as the backstage tour each time they visit.

“Cannons and gun fire are so real,” Anthony said. “It really helps to take all the scariness out of the guns and the fake blood.”

Young said more than 2 million visitors have seen the production throughout the years and it is a top 10 pick in North America, according to travelocity.

For people planning to visit Chillicothe to attend a production of “Tecumseh!” and also interested in sports, the Chillicothe Paints are part of the Prospect League. Also, The Triangle Trail stretches 25 miles from Chillicothe to Washington Court House.

Attracting 40,000 people per season, economically, the show is a boost for the area..

“The show has had a huge impact from the millions of dollars that are put back into the community from visitors that come to see the drama,” said Beatty. ” Being located in southern Ohio, it’s a big tourist attraction for southern Ohio.”