New Old Time Chautauqua, State Parks to host community – focused summer events

The New Old Time Chautauqua (NOTC), America’s only traveling Chautauqua, is teaming up with Washington State Parks for a summer tour of six state parks and nearby communities beginning June 14.

Before the Internet, before television, before movies, before radio, Chautauquas were the most popular form of summer diversion in America. President Theodore Roosevelt once said that Chautauquas were “the most American thing in America.” When a traveling Chautauqua came to town, all normal activity stopped as citizens dedicated a week of their lives to engage with the issues facing their communities, experience nature and enjoy music, theater and food with their families and neighbors.

After a successful tour of nine state parks in 2016, NOTC and State Parks will reunite this June to bring the same mix of family fun and community engagement to state parks in three areas of Washington state—desert, mountain and sea. Participants can join in the tours and learn how to juggle, play the ukulele or fold a fitted sheet. Park rangers, tribal members and local residents will share their knowledge of the area’s history or botany. Visitors and community members are invited to lead their own learning session, host a crafts table or bring a musical instrument.

This year, NOTC and State Parks are honored to be working with the Confederated Tribes of Colville and the Lummi Nation to include Native voices in re-shaping the stories of state parks. This is part of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program’s goal to ensure that tribal perspectives and stories are appropriately, accurately and authentically presented.

“The idea of the Chautauqua-Parks partnership is to renew ties and to foster goodwill between nearby towns and their local state parks,” said Paul Magid, founding member of the NOTC and The Flying Karamazov Brothers. “The New Old Time Chautauqua and Washington State Parks share common goals—to promote community through education and experience by being a catalyst for cultural and creative exchange surrounded by the beauty of nature.”

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
–  Albert Schweitzer 

“Everyone has a story. Everyone is an expert in something and can share it with others in their community. That’s one of the most exciting things about Chautauqua,” said Makaela Kroin, Coordinator of the State Parks Folk and Traditional Arts Program. “Chautauquas are about coming together to learn, to celebrate and ultimately to appreciate our diverse neighbors. State parks are a natural fit for these events.”

Image courtesy Washington State Parks
Image courtesy Washington State Parks

The Chautauqua tours begin Thursday, June 14, and run through Sunday, June 30. The tours are organized into three distinct geographical areas in the state, with a state park as the centerpiece of operations. The general schedule is as follows:

Desert — Sun Lakes – Dry Falls State Park, June 14 to June 20. Tour includes visits to Coulee City, Almira Coulee Hartline High School and the Keller, Nespelem, Inchelium, Omak community centers on the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Mountain — Pearrygin Lake State Park, June 22 to June 26. Tour includes visits to the towns of Twisp and Pateros, and Alta Lake and Conconully state parks.

Sea — Birch Bay State Park, June 28 to June 30. Tour includes visits to Lummi Nation, Peace Arch State Park and the Blaine Performing Arts Center.

NOTC events include entertaining and educational workshops in parks and towns, a community potluck in each state park, live music, speakers and a grand parade—with community participation encouraged—through the town. Each Chautauqua visit culminates in a grand finale performance featuring Broadway stars, a big band, aerialists, comedians, jugglers and more.

For more details about the different Chautauqua events, visit State Parks’ Adventure Awaits blog:

About the New Old Time Chautauqua: NOTC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization of 60-plus volunteer performers, educators and staff whose mission is to travel throughout the Greater Northwest to small towns and Native Nations to promote community through education, entertainment and laughter. The NOTC was founded in 1981 by the Flying Karamazov Brothers and Dr. Patch Adams. For the last 37 years, the NOTC has brought the Chautauqua concept to towns in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Northern California, British Columbia and Alaska.  For more information, visit:

About the Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program: The New Old Time Chautauqua events are part of a broader series of events celebrating Washington’s diverse cultures presented by the Folk and Traditional Arts Program, with funding provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as support from the Washington State Parks Foundation.

For more information about the Folks and Traditional Arts in the Parks program, including upcoming events, visit:, or contact Makaela Kroin, Program Coordinator, at or (360) 902-8635

– Washington State Parks