Chautauqua Trail: Chautauqua at the Riverside

Staff Blogger: Allison Moon, Advancement Communication Intern


With scheduled presentations for 2014 titled, “Michigan Cities: How Did They get Those Crazy Names?” and “A Conversation with Henry Ford & Thomas Edison,” it is clear that the Ypsilanti, Mich. Chautauqua program combines education and entertainment flawlessly.

Chautauqua at the Riverside has been well received by the community.

“The community is active in preserving the history of Ypsilanti,” Valerie Kabat, Program coordinator, said. “They really seem to embrace this sort of thing.”

This year, Chautauqua at the Riverside will be a one-day program on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The 2014 Chautauqua at the Riverside will feature nine lectures, a three-hour set by Paul Klinger’s Easy Street Jazz Band and two art exhibits, including one of vintage postcards.

In 2012, this Chautauqua was part of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival, which takes place in mid-August every year. In 2012 and 2013, the program was two days and featured 11 lectures both years.

Kabat assumed the role of Program Coordinator after Tom Dodd, the founder of Chautauqua at the Riverside, passed away unexpectedly in May 2013.

“Tom was all about fun and education,” said Kabat. “We know how to entertain but want to educate the community as well. That’s how Tom would have wanted it.”

By moving the program to October, the Chautauqua also hopes to attract college students from the surrounding universities.

“Eastern Michigan University has a great historic preservation master’s degree program,” Kabat said. “We hope to generate interest among students there.”



Chautauqua at the Riverside is part of the Chautauqua Trail and the Ypsilanti Historical Society. The program is partially funded by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.

Visit to learn more about Chautauqua at the Riverside and to explore other communities along the Chautauqua Trail.

Join our Front Porch conversation! What surprised you most about Chautauqua at the Riverside? Tell us in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Historic Chautauqua’s are gaining steam. Take a tour of Lakeside Chautauqua in Ohio

Wendy Pramik-Special to USA TODAY Since the late 19th century, chautauquas have been known as vacation getaways that offer more than recreation. Rooted in religious and secular education, they’re places that promise peaceful, clean fun while permitting an opportunity to renew the body, mind and spirit. We discovered this magic while visiting Lakeside Chautauqua, a gated […]

Read More

New in 2018

Spring has arrived, and we can’t wait to welcome our Lakeside friends back for another exciting summer. To help you make the most of it, we want to share new things that Lakeside is working on to improve your experience. Mark your calendars for new programs, carve out time to walk through a new garden […]

Read More

Gazebo Provides Unique Home for Programming & Lakeside Tradition

Staff Blogger: Allyson Lane, Advancement & Communications Assistant Since 1979, the Steele Memorial Bandstand/Gazebo has provided an open space for programming on the lakefront. It commands attention and draws people to Central Park from shuffleboard, miniature golf, the playground and Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile. The programs that have taken place for the past 38 years […]

Read More