this years Best of Show
large, but sales
not as strong, vendors report
(October 2008) Tourists and residents alike
flocked to the riverfront Sept. 27-28 to enjoy the Madison Chautauqua
Festival of Art. But while they shopped and enjoyed food and free musical
entertainment, the exhibitors were being judged by members of the festival
When the verdict was in, Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong joined
Chautauqua coordinator Georgie Kelly and other committee members in presenting
this years Best of Show Award to Liz and Rich Robertson of Asbury,
Iowa. The couple makes pottery and their talents wowed the judges for
the award, sponsored by Artful Living Co.
Kathleen Green, an oil painter from Groveport, Ohio, made her annual appearance
among the nominees and this year collected First Place in Fine Art. She
is a past two-time winner and has placed at least two other years in that
Second Place went to Jamie Rehfield of Richland, Mich. Joan Schulte, an
artist from Louisville, Ky., took Third Place. This was her first time
at the show, since she only began doing shows this year.
Jerry and Sandra Wallin of Wallin Forge in Vevay, Ind., earned First Place
in the Crafts category. They are well known among locals for their forged
iron work and historical tinsmithing. They operate at a studio in Vevay.
Second Place went to Amber Poole, a potter from Tecumseh, Okla. Her family
has been in the show for the past 10 years. Her father, Don Poole, started
the stoneware pottery business, and when he died three years ago, his
daughter took it over. She has been nominated for the award in past years
and Don has won it.
Third Place in Crafts went to Kenneth Schneider of Maineville, Ohio. He
creates wooden toys.
The award for the Best Presentation went to Ward Siegler, a jewelry maker
from Genoa City, Wisc.
by Don Ward
winning exhibitors and festival officials at this years show
are (front row from left) Merry Fourhman, committee; Joan Schulte,
Third in Fine Art; Liz Robertson, Best of Show; Kathleen Green,
First in Fine Art; Jame Rehfeld, Second in Fine Art; Julie Swartz,
committee; (back row from left) Georgie Kelly, festival coordinator;
Amber Poole, Second in Craft; Ward Siegler, Best Presentation; Kenneth
Schneider, Third in Craft; Jerry Wallin, First in Craft; Mickey
Swartz, committee; and Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong.
This years show had about 30 fewer exhibitors than
usual, reported Kelly, with only 250, as opposed to the usual 280. But
the weather cooperated to produce a large crowd both days. The Delta Queen
steamboat pulled into town on Sunday with a TV news crew from ABCs
Good Morning America on board. The crew shot footage of the
Madison Chautauqua as part of a story it is doing on the Delta Queen,
which could be on its last season.
Despite the crowds, many vendors reported that their sales were slightly
less than in recent years, perhaps due to the economy. But the streets
and stores and restaurants on Main Street were booming.
Kelly reported to the Madison tourism board that $12,475 had been raised
in sponsorships. She also reported a newly designed website at www.MadisonChautauqua.com.
Kelly also told the board an economic impact study of the festival was
being conducted this year by studying the difference in bank deposits
by local businesses at River Valley Financial Bank.
The last time we did this several years ago, we saw an increase
of 63 percent in bank deposits between the weeks before and after the
show, Kelly said.
No official crowd estimate has been conducted but Kelly said her committee
estimates attendance at around 70,000 over the two days. That estimate
stems from a street count conducted back in 2002, she added.
The Chautauqua committee is planning on sponsoring a gift to the city
for next year when Madison will be celebrating its Bicentennial. A wall
mural is being planned, and Kelly said it may go up on the side of Rogers
Corner restaurant on Main and West streets. The committee is searching
for artists to take part in creating this unique design. The theme is
the history of Madison from 1909-2009. Anyone interested should contact
Bill Borden at (812) 866-5793.
For more information, call (812) 265-2956
or visit: www.MadisonChautauqua.com.