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.