Before the 3-year-old members of Children’s School marched out to perform traditional folk songs for their parents, they sat restlessly listening to a story read by their counselor.
“Successful nonprofits are dominated by committed volunteers,” said Geof Follansbee, CEO of the Chautauqua Foundation, on Aug. 15 at the annual Volunteer Recognition Reception honoring both Chautauqua Fund and planned giving volunteers.
You may have noticed an unusual amount of traffic on the streets of Chautauqua Saturday morning. You may also have noticed that the traffic was of the pedestrian variety, with some folks appearing to be in quite a hurry.
The Old First Night Run/Walk/Swim is an annual tradition marking the birthday of our fair Institution. Runners, walkers and swimmers traverse land and sea (pool) for a chance to be a part of this tradition and score the coveted OFN T-shirt. [w/ SLIDESHOW]
The Chautauqua Community Band, under the baton of Jason Weintraub, performs its annual lunchtime Old First Night concert Tuesday afternoon on Bestor Plaza. [SLIDESHOW]
The Old First Night Run/Walk/Swim is a timeless tradition that has recently been given an upgrade.
It’s incredibly fitting to celebrate the birthday of Chautauqua Institution by honoring the deeply rooted traditions of community and philanthropy that have allowed the Institution to flourish for the past 139 years. That’s why Annual Fund Day — the day of Aug. 6, leading up to Old First Night — will be a huge celebration of the mutual support at the heart of the Chautauqua community.
Chautauqua Foundation CEO Geof Follansbee, a lifelong Chautauquan, celebrates the Foundation’s 75th anniversary.
Boys’ and Girls’ Club’s SAC Girls, overall champions of the 2012 Air Band competition, perform their routine, “We Are Legends,” just before the evening’s conclusion.
A spotlight shines on Ramona Weissbard as the last Chautauquan standing during Roll Call — she has been coming to Chautauqua for 98 years.
Audience members hold up hankerchiefs and tissues to take part in the traditional “Drooping of the Lilies” exercise to honor Chautauquans “who have joined the great majority.”
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Marc Parnell and Kylee Witchey-Clements cross the finish line as the first female and male finishers, respectively, in the run portion of the annual Old First Night Run/Walk/Swim Saturday. All names and times are courtesy of the Chautauqua Sports Club. Photos by Adam Birkan.
The Chautauqua Foundation celebrates 75 years this season with a nod to the past. This year, the foundation honors those leaders who helped lift Chautauqua to prosperity by establishing a charitable organization to support the Institution.
In 1933, the nation was entrenched in the bitter effects of the Great Depression. The previous year saw the highest level of unemployment in United States history: 22 percent. Chautauqua Institution, 60 years old but already rich in history, faced foreclosure.
In what was perhaps Chautauqua’s first case statement, according to former Institution President Dan Bratton in a memo to senior staff in 1993, former President Dr. Arthur Bestor is quoted as saying, “An institution of this character cannot stand still; it must either go forward or it will go backward.”
One hundred thirty-nine seasons. Innumerable traditions. More than 5,000 celebrants in the Amphitheater. A formidable number of birthday cakes. One night.
At 7:30 p.m. tonight, Old First Night will sweep the Amp again with all the mirth and merriment that accompanies the celebration of Chautauqua’s birthday each year. Founded in 1874, the Institution will pay homage to its roots with a number of the traditional programs Chautauquans new and seasoned look forward to each summer.
Dick Karslake, master of ceremonies for the past 23 celebrations, said he has more fun than anyone on Old First Night. He has noticed during the years that it offers something for everyone.
“There’s nothing there that is wasted effort or wasted energy, because it’s somebody’s favorite time,” he said of the traditional elements of the Old First Night program.