September 3, 2013 Visit Madison

I’ve heard it pronounced in a variety of ways and trying to spell it is always interesting.  The Madison Chautauqua (shə-TAW-kwə) Festival of Art (September 28-29, 2013) is something I look forward to every year.  It’s been going on for 43 years so I guess I’m not the only one who loves this event.

Chautauqua: was it a movement, a vacation, a religious experience, or what?  The first Chautauqua, was organized in 1874 by Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and businessman Lewis Miller at a campsite on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern upstate New York and later became the Chautauqua Institution which is still in existence today.  They offer a mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. I travel this way home to visit my family and it is a beautiful spot.

This educational summer camp format became a popular choice for families and was widely copied throughout the US.  In Madison, the first Chautauqua was held in 1901 and lasted until 1929.

(Thanks to the Jefferson County History Center – they have the MOST fabulous photos in their archives!)

Since that time, Chautauqua in Madison has evolved into the most wonderful fine arts & crafts event – always the last full weekend in September.  It has been named as one of the top 200 such events in the United States by Sunshine Magazine.  Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art hosts approximately 250 exhibitors from all over the US.  This is a juried show so you can be sure the products are top notch.  I always find something that I love and can’t live without!


In addition to the exhibitors, there is live entertainment on the Lanier Mansion lawn throughout the weekend.  There is a kid’s activity tent, riverfront food fest, and Saturday evening Concert in the Park.

New for 2013!  A select group of Artisan Food Producers will be added to the offerings.  Their unique products will be packaged for sale at the event.


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