Chautauqua Institution officially turned 144 years young with its annual, all-day Old First Night and Annual Fund Day festivities Tuesday. The activities began on Bestor Plaza with the Family-friendly Chautauqua Birthday Celebration. That day, donors to the Chautauqua Fund were entered into a drawing for a half-day pontoon boat rental. The winner was 4-year-old Lily Hird (every gift, regardless of size or the size of the Chautauquan, matters!), and her family, of Youngstown, Ohio. Thanks to the collective birthday gift of this community throughout Annual Fund Day and the evening of Old First Night, over $26,000 was raised in support of the 2018 Chautauqua Fund. Later that evening in the Amphitheater, the traditional Old First Night included such beloved traditions as the Drooping of the Lillies and a Vespers litany penned by Bishop John Heyl Vincent. The day featured something from both new and longtime Chautauquans alike, all in the spirit of honoring and celebrating the continuous, lived mission set forth by the Institution’s founders:
A shared space for learning, for recreation in every sense of the word, and for community.