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Chautauqua Celebration  June 30, 2018

“Chautauqua” is the cultural and historic recreation of the traveling lecturers and entertainers that came through Waseca starting in 1883. Music, drama, lectures, from the East entertained and educated midwest small towns until the 1920’s. Admission is just as it was in 1883–“one nickel per person–children and servants FREE!”

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Chautauqua Revival

ChatuauquaWhat is Chautauqua?

Chautauqua is a community-based, cultural and social movement that started in the 1870s and flourished in America until the mid 1920s.

During this time there existed hundreds of touring “Chautauquas” that presented lectures, dance, music, drama, and other forms of “cultural enrichment.” The movement is named for a lake in upstate New York that was the site of the first Chautauqua, which consisted of Sunday school teachers lecturing outdoors about the moral issues of the day.  Eventually it broadened and organizers brought in great orators, added music, and later theater. Performing in tents across the country, Chautauquas were once called “the most American thing in America” by Teddy Roosevelt.

We are fortunate to have in our community a well documented history of a Chautauqua assembly that came to Waseca in the late 1800s.  Trowbridge Park will host this popular event. People came by the hundreds by rail, boat, carriage and horseback. They came from all over Minnesota and surrounding states.

The Waseca County Historical Society event is made possible by a grant made possible by the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council with Funds Appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and the Waseca Area Foundation E.F.Johnson Family Fund.