Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art

Organizers of the city's largest event
are preparing for another big year

Music in the Park added to this year's agenda

By Don Ward

MADISON, Ind. (September 2007) – Plans for the 37th annual Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art are on schedule for another big year, according to festival coordinator Georgie Kelly. The two-day event, Madison's largest festival at an estimated 50,000 people, is scheduled for Sept 29-30, a week later this year because of the longer September calendar.

Madison Chautauqua Shoppers

Photo by Don Ward

Visitors stroll the exhibitor
booths during last year's festival.
The show annually features
more than 270 booths.

Booths will open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and include a riverfront food fest, children's activity tent, live entertainment, roving entertainers and a Saturday night "Music in the Park" at the Broadway Fountain. The Chautauqua has partnered with the Madison Main Street Program this year presenting Greg Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett, from Indianapolis, with a 7 p.m. performance of acoustic, Americana folk music.
Other performers this year include the ever-popular classical guitarist Russell Donnellon, Rob Houze Quartet, James White & Deer Creek, Glorybound, Kentucky Rain, Soundz Like Dixieland and the North United Methodist Church Praise Band. Hanover College's theater group, ITC, also will perform, plus several strolling entertainers.
All 275 exhibitor booths are filled, according to Kelly. Any late cancellations are quickly filled from a waiting list. Last year's Chautauqua exhibitors were offered a $25 discount if they re-signed at the termination of last year's festival.
"It's good to have returning exhibitors because many people like to collect items from certain artists or to see their favorite exhibitors each year," she said.
Kelly, who is paid $24,500 to organize and run the festival, also works to secure about $9,000 in local business sponsorships. The money helps the committee offset its cost to run the show.
The Chautauqua committee operates under the supervision of the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. It is the largest single event of the year for the tourism bureau and requires the help of about 300 local volunteers on Chautauqua weekend.
"We could not do it without our volunteers," said Linda Lytle, the tourism board's executive director.
Local artist Nancy Jo Randall of Deputy, Ind., has designed the poster, which coordinates with the T-shirt design. A poster signing is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7 at Madison City Hall. Only 250 limited edition posters are produced each year, selling for $40 each.
The Chautauqua scholarship program, which provides money from an endowment fund to high school seniors studying the arts, typically provides two scholarships of $650 and $500 each. This year, the committee has provided $750 toward the scholarship award. Combined with money from its savings account, the Chautauqua committee last spring awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Madison Consolidated High School student Samantha Lee, who plans to become an art teacher.
The committee established its endowment fund in 1994 with only $1,000. Today, the endowment is valued at more than $21,800, Kelly reported.
The committee has earned from $4,000 to $10,000 in profit on the sale of T-shirts, posters and related products in past years. The committee raises money from business sponsorships and from the $225 each exhibitor pays to participate. The committee operates the festival on an $94,382 budget. It earned a net profit of $4,755 last year, a bit less than normal because of $3,200 in unforseen expenses it had to cover.
Each year, the Madison Chautauqua coincides with the annual Fall Old Court Days, a flea market and arts and crafts fair organized by the nonprofit Pilot Club of Madison. That event takes place around the Jefferson County Courthouse and extends to the city parking lot on Second and Jefferson streets. Old Court Days is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
The annual Book Sale at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library also takes place that weekend at 420 W. Main St. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library group, the event is a fundraiser for library projects and features books, magazines, videotapes, CDs and other literature for sale, some new and some used.
A fourth event held that weekend in downtown Madison is Lanthier Winery's Harvest Celebration, held on the grounds of the winery at 123 Mill St. Various other churches, fire departments and nonprofit organizations hold bakes sales, fish fries and yard sales during Chautauqua weekend to take advantage of the large crowd visiting downtown Madison.
Both the Madison Trolley and the city's Catch-A-Ride van transportation service operate throughout the weekend, ferrying visitors to and from these events, the city campground, marinas and the Chautauqua designated parking lot on the hilltop at the Madison Consolidated High School.

• For more information, call (812) 265-2956 or visit: www.MadisonChautauqua.com.


Madison Chautauqua Archived Articles
2014 2013


Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta