Chautauqua to Gather for Old First Night Festivities and Honor Institution in Birthday Celebration

Chautauquans celebrate Old First Night with family activities and a Chautauqua Community Band concert Tuesday, August 7, 2018 on Bestor Plaza. BRIAN HAYES/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Celebrating Chautauqua’s birthday, Old First Night is a time to honor traditions, welcome new ones and appreciate the philanthropic support that keeps the Institution at its best. In gratitude, the Chautauqua Foundation invites the community to its annual celebration.

The festivities will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 6 on Bestor Plaza, providing Chautauquans with the opportunity to prepare for Old First Night by engaging in family-friendly activities, while also having the chance to make their birthday gift to Chautauqua.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to gather together and celebrate Chautauqua’s birthday with games and activities for the kiddos, and to honor each of our family’s experiences on these grounds with a gift to further Chautauqua’s programs and the incredible joy they provide us each summer,” said Tina Downey, director of the Chautauqua Fund.

Chautauqua Fund volunteers will be accepting donations for the annual fund throughout the celebration, and the Community Band will perform at 12:15 p.m. Gifts of all sizes help to ensure a vital and successful future for the Institution, and volunteers and foundation staff will be on hand to discuss the importance of philanthropy at the Institution and the impact it makes on the overall Chautauqua experience.

This year, the afternoon birthday celebration is based on an “Incredibles” superhero theme, teeing up the movie, “The Incredibles 2,” which will be screened at 9:30 p.m. on Bestor Plaza. The movie will follow the Old First Night ceremonies at 6:45 p.m. in the Amphitheater, and the Family Entertainment Series performance by “Taikoza” at 7:30 p.m., all on Tuesday. Families and children are invited to partake in the afternoon activities to kick things off, including an obstacle course, bounce house where Chautauquans can test their superhero strength and speed, a craft table with materials to make your own shield, superhero face painting, yard games and a photo op station. There will also be paper lanterns for sale for those who want to light up their porches leading up to the evening celebration of Old First Night.

“Chautauqua’s birthday is a prime occasion to celebrate the relationships that have built this community and that unite us in our search for meaning, shared purpose and greater understanding,” Downey said. “We welcome gifts to honor friends and loved ones, and those who have invited us to be a part of this experience along the way.”

During the celebration, families and individuals are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a performance by the Chautauqua Community Band at 12:15 p.m. Herb Keyser will also be selling his famous lemon tarts with all proceeds benefiting the Chautauqua Fund. At movie night, to cap off the full day of birthday fun, the Foundation will provide free popcorn, luminaries and glow-in-the-dark bracelets.

For more information about the role of philanthropy at Chautauqua, or this family-friendly celebration of Chautauqua’s birthday, please contact the Foundation Office at 716-357-6465 or

Tags : Amphitheaterbestor plazaChautauquaChautauqua FoundationCommunityCommunity BandFamily Entertainment SeriesOld First Night

The author Marianna Moore

Marianna Moore is a rising senior at the University of Missouri. She is studying journalism with a concentration in strategic communication. She interns as a writer for the university’s Office of Student Affairs and previously interned as a social media manager with Mizzou International Experience. In her free time, Marianna likes to volunteer at the Central Missouri Humane Society and enjoys writing poetry.