Home at last: After a year of COVID separation, Chautauquans at last return home to grounds – and each other

Chautauqua has always been about convening. After a year spent socially distanced, Chautauquans are finally able to come together once more in the community they all love.

All across the grounds, families are holding picnics, Chautauquans are engaging in conversations on porches and benches, once-empty homes are filled with life, and friends old and new are being reunited, many having not seen each other since the 2019 Summer Assembly Season. 

With Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill’s Three Taps of the Gavel on Sunday, the season has officially begun, and the most essential element of the Chautauqua Experience, Chautauquans themselves, have come to convene for this 148th Summer Assembly. 

It has been a long and painful road, but Chautauquans who have waited two years for this moment are finally home at last.

  • From left to right, Hank Semmelhack, Lucia Mouat and Tricia Semmelhack sit on a bench to discuss the day's events, Sunday, June 27, 2021 on Bestor Plaza. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Steve Drabant and his wife Sue Drabant, left, go through photos with brother-in-law Safwat Andrawes during a family picnic by the Miller Bell Tower Thursday, June 17, 2021. Long time Chautauquans Steve and Sue were showing around Safwat, who is on the grounds for the first time visiting from Kenya. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • From left to right, Regan Sims and Portia Rose greet Kathy Greenhouse at a local Play "Read-In" on June 24, 2021. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • From left to right, Nafi Sall, Michael Furman, Dylan Baker, Macy Veto and Elena Stanley talk during an afternoon picnic on Bastor Plaza on June 23, 2021. The group are all interns for the International Order of the Kings Daughters and Sons. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Linda Bunch works to help prep her daughter's inn for the summer season while her grandson, Sam Webler, keeps her company in Chautauqua, June 21, 2021. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Tags : 148th summer assemblybestor plazaCOVID-19three taps of the gavel

The author Kristen Triplett

This is Kristen Triplett’s first season with the Daily where she serves as a photographer. She discovered her love for photography in college and will be graduating from Ball State University with a degree in photojournalism at the end of this summer. Her passions are portrait photography and portraying stories through her work. When not working, Kristen enjoys frequenting local coffee shops, playing guitar and spending time by the riverfront in her hometown of New Albany, Indiana.