As we have every week, we come to you again with Lakeside Chautauqua’s response to the effects of COVID-19.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, life now, and in the coming months, can be defined by one word, “uncertainty.” There are so many questions that cannot be answered at this time. Some apparent answers become outdated with the next news report. Plans are being cancelled, postponed or rescheduled for another day. We wish we could answer all your concerns, but like you, we’re operating in this world of uncertainty.
We had planned another banner year at Lakeside. Every building was to be filled with programs to make you smile and enjoy the summer. We know that the events of that season only exist on our now outdated Calendar of Events brochure and in our dreams.
So, this is what we do know. Lakeside’s Chautauqua programming season will not be the same this year. It will look different. It will feel different. It will not be as big or as grand. It will not be business as usual. However, despite what we do know, it has not diminished our commitment to creating a season.
“Hope is courage fueled by determination with a plan.” We share that regularly with our staff and that’s exactly what we have been working on over the past few weeks. Lakeside is all about closeness, human connection and inter-generational fun. We’re hopeful to have a season for you that focuses on maintaining safety and social distancing, while providing as best we can a social closeness and human connection. This means that we as a staff are thinking differently on what and how we offer the Chautauqua programming season.
We’re working diligently on redeveloping a season in the next two months. This is no easy task, as some of the planning and preparations for this summer have been developing over the last 6-18 months. You can imagine the amount of work the team is doing with all the entertainers and performers, speakers and presenters, seminars and recreational events, and the many beloved gatherings we enjoy each summer. It means we’re reviewing more than 4,000 events and activities produced by Lakeside, not to mention the hundreds of programs planned by our numerous community groups and partners that we will be reaching out to shortly.
In addition, the State of Ohio’s ‘Stay at Home’ mandate has affected our ability to prepare for the summer. Typically, this time of year would be filled with cleaning of venues, opening of facilities and other springtime operations that cannot be completed while staff attempts to “Stay at Home.” So, as you can see, amid the uncertainty, there are discussions, decisions and new plans, but most of all, change.
What might the season look like? What we do know is this: we will not let social distancing keep us from being a community filled with energy and endless possibilities! You will see a focus on family activities that you can do from your home. You will explore Lakeside while experiencing your own creativity and imaginations. Have you ever thought about a musician coming down your Lakeside street to entertain you while you stay on your porch? What about an instructor leading a morning workout on your block while you participate from your yard or driveway? What if kids had story time with members of our community online or an evening sing-a-long with everyone boldly singing from their front porches? We may not see the summer season we all remember, but we will certainly remember this summer season.
Being true to our Chautauqua mission, we’re working to develop aspects of a virtual community. Obviously, not all of the season can or will be online, but we’re working on the best methods to deliver programming to you. Can we create this online community and still provide that sense of togetherness that is the embodiment of Lakeside? We think so! We will celebrate the summer together, but in different ways. We will bring the Chautauqua experience to you, a traveling Chautauqua for the modern age.
While we continue to learn more about COVID-19 and the mandates issued by our state and local health officials, we’ll be releasing information about the Chautauqua programming season and its new virtual counterpart. Soon we will provide answers about your Chautauqua Season Passes, admission and parking for this revised summer experience. We greatly appreciate the encouragement and many ideas you’ve shared with us. Thank you for your amazing support as we all work through this unknown territory together.
We ask for your patience over the next two months while we develop this new seasonal experience for you. We know that Lakeside is a place you come to each summer to relax, rejuvenate and re-energize. Though we know it won’t be the same, we know that this summer will still be a place of making great lifetime memories.