Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art

Organizers of the city’s largest event
prepare for a big year

This year's event is set for Sept. 27-28

By Don Ward

2008 Madison Chautauqua Logo

(September 2008) – Plans for the 38th 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 27-28. Booths are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and include a riverfront food court, children’s activity tent, live entertainment, roving entertainers and a Saturday night outdoor concert by The Doctor’s Band at the Broadway Fountain.
The show features nearly 300 juried artisans who set up on the streets of downtown Madison between Poplar and Vine streets.

Chautauqua Crowd

Photo by Don Ward

Beautiful fall weather draws a crowd
each year at the Madison Chautauqua,
held in the downtown historic district.

Many exhibitors return each year, but Kelly said she likes to have some new exhibitors “to keep the show fresh.”
She reported a 75 percent return rate among exhibitors from last year, compared to the national average of 65 percent. Last year’s Chautauqua exhibitors were offered a 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, is working toward a goal of raising $9,000 in local business sponsorships. The money helps the committee offset its cost to run the show.
Kelly said local graphic designer Troy Seel has designed the T-shirt logo, and Madison artist Bill Borden has created the limited edition poster, which will be revealed in mid-September. His design features the Jefferson County Courthouse. Only 250 limited edition posters are produced each year, selling for $45 each. They will become available at a poster signing event, scheduled for 5 p.m. Sept. 19 at Madison City Hall.
Borden is working with the Chautauqua Committee to create a building mural in downtown Madison to mark next year’s Madison Bicentennial event (see story, page 21).
This year’s Saturday night concert by The Doctor’s Band is scheduled for 7 p.m. The concert is free.
Each year, the Madison Chautauqua coincides with the annual 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 fund raiser 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.


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