headlines events in Kentuckiana
(September 2001) Madison, In When the first Chautauqua
premiered in Madison in 1901, many probably did not think
that 100 years later it would become one of the regions
largest festivals. More probably did not think it would
become the highlight of a weekend of festivals.
But one certain weekend of September has
grown into a mecca of events that all take place in the
downtown historic district. From music to art to books,
the weekend of Sept. 21-23 offers something for just about
In 1901, the first Chautauqua was a week-long event. The
tone of the festival was extremely different from todays
juried arts fair. Patrons camped out at the present site
of the Madison Country Club to witness speakers and live
Over the next 28 years, Chautauqua became an annual fixture
in Madison. It started to lose popularity around 1929,
and that was last year it was held in Madisons far
west end. It wasnt until the late 1960s when a downtown
festival returned to Madison.
Old Court Days premiered in 1968. It was started by the
late Helen Gourley, a Madison antique dealer. Later in
the 1970s, Madisons chapter of the Pilot Club took
over its sponsorship. Today, it is held twice a year
May and September around Madisons Courthouse
square. Booths are set up displaying crafts ranging from
woodwork to baskets to jewelry. This year, Old Court Days
will run Sept. 21-23.
Old Court Days had already taken shape when Madison jeweler
Oscar Bear pushed for a Main Street sidewalk art fair
in 1970. Three years later, his efforts, combined with
a group of Madison artists, teachers and merchants and
the Madison-Ohio Valley Arts Council, led to rejuvination
of the Madison Chautauqua. It eventually moved west to
Mill Street then south along the riverfront and the Lanier
Historic Site. Over the last three decades, Chautauqua
has been mostly known for its juried art exhibitors and
riverfront food fest. The performing arts aspect has been
rejuvinated over the past decade.
This years Chautauqua will feature 275 exhibitors
and 20 performing entities. The street festivities will
take place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22-23. There will be
a classical music concert by the Madison Performing Arts
Foundation, Inc. at 7 p.m. on Sept. 22.
The eve of Chautauqua will be celebrated with Tim Krekel
and Kasualties, an adult contemporary band that plays
rhythm and blues. The outdoor concert will take place
at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 on the Madison riverfront and will
be the final performance of the annual summer Music in
the Park series sponsored by Madisons Main Street
A third festival, Harvest Celebration Festival, sponsored
by Lanthier Winery, has also seen rapid growth in its
seven-year existence. This eighth annual event is expected
to attract top quality exhibitors and combine wine tasting
and food with live entertainment on Saturday and Sunday,
Sept. 22-23. The festival hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Winery owners Chris Lanthier and Tami Hagemier use the
proceeds to promote local artists and this year will donate
a portion to the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
The annual book sale, sponsored by Friends of the Library,
also returns to the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library,
located at 420 W. Main Street. Friends of the Library
is an organization that creates special library programs,
which are funded in part by proceeds from the sale.
Available at this years sale are a variety of different
books plus videos and magazines. The sale takes place
in the librarys auditorium from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
on Sept. 20-21; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 22; and
noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 23.
For more information on events
taking place Festival Weekend in September, contact the
Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (812) 265-2956
For information on Lanthier Winerys
Harvest Celebration, call 1-800-419-4637.