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Chewelah has been the site of one of Northeast Washington’s most celebrated summer festivals, and 2012 marks the 39th anniversary of Chewelah’s Chataqua celebration.
During the second full weekend in July each year, the city is host to tens of thousands of people from all over the Northwest and Canada who come to enjoy the three and a half days of summer food, arts & crafts, sporting events, live entertainment, and yes, just plain fun. At the heart of the festivities is the juried outdoor Arts & Crafts Fair which is held in Chewelah’s eight-acre city park.
The festival draws an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 patrons who come to shop, eat (at the food court), drink (in the Beer Garden), be entertained (by live entertainment on CenterStage) and have fun (with the Carnival rides, games, baseball, fun run, golf, and the Children’s Pavilion).
Community Celebrations, which produces the Chataqua every summer, is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization founded in 1974. For 39 years its mission has been to plan, develop and promote recreational, educational and cultural activities and facilities for residents of and visitors to Chewelah.
Proceeds from Chataqua have enabled Community Celebrations to fund numerous projects, including the pavilion with seating in the park. The group’s long-range goal is to develop a performing arts center in Chewelah. With the recent organization of PACA (Chewelah Performing and Cultural Arts Center) work is progressing as funding becomes available.
The folks at Community Celebrations would like to say, “The difficult is doable – The impossible takes a little longer.”
The annual summer celebration in Chewelah is based on the original Chautauqua, started in 1874 and still going strong at Lake Chautauqua, New York. Chautauqua took to the road with huge tent shows to bring “culture” to the hinterlands. President Teddy Roosevelt called it the most popular form of entertainment in the United States.
The traditional format was revived in Chewelah in 1974 with a simplified spelling. Chataqua has grown to become the largest festival of its kind in eastern Washington and third largest in the state. Teddy would love it!
Chataqua (Chautauqua) is a Seneca Indian word roughly translated to mean “meeting place.”
Anyone interested in joining in the Chataqua fun is invited to attend. For information, call Community Celebrations at (509) 935-8991 or visit www.chewelahchataqua.com.