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"How It Started" At This Year's Scopes Festival

Scopes Festival 2021 logo
Scopes Festival

The Scopes Festival returns this weekend to Dayton, Tennessee.

The annual gathering commemorates the July 1925 trial in Dayton of John Scopes, a high school teacher accused of violating a Tennessee law that barred the teaching of evolution in public schools.


The trial at the Rhea County Courthouse drew national attention - and lured national names of the time to Dayton:  William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow and H.L. Mencken.

Last year, the Scopes Festival - which in the past featured a play reenacting the trial in the same courtroom where the actual trial took place - was canceled due to the pandemic.

This year’s festival - on Saturday in Dayton - will present a new play in that courtroom:  “How It Started.”


Rick Dye has been involved with the Festival for some 26 years - and this will be his eighth year portraying Clarence Darrow.


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