On the last full weekend in September of each year, thousands of visitors journey to Madison, Indiana for Southern Indiana’s premier outdoor juried arts and fine crafts festival, Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art. This festival is free to the public and designed for the whole family to enjoy.
Nestled among the tree lined streets of Madison’s National Landmark Historic District, more than 200 artisans and fine craftsmen showcase their painting, drawing, sculpture, wood carving, basket weaving, mixed media, jewelry, glass, textiles, pottery, artisan foods, soap, leather, and more. No matter what your budget is, you can find something at the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art.
Along the Ohio River between Broadway and Vine Street, there is more than art to be found as well. For the last 50 years, a Committee of volunteers has worked hard to ensure this festival has something for everyone.
When you come down to enjoy the festival, don’t forget to bring your appetite. Attendees can grab a wide variety of festival foods or delicious treats from one of the more than 20 vendors at the Riverfront FoodFest. After you grab your meal, find a shady spot at one of our picnic tables along the Ohio river and watch the boats go by.
As you are shopping and strolling along the 10 blocks of exhibitors, you can experience the musical performances placed throughout the festival as well. Featuring many local and regional musicians, there is a wide variety of musical talent to enjoy.
If getting a little dirty and hands on is for you, make sure to sign up for the Annual Chalk Walk. Adults and children alike are encouraged to sign up for a spot on Elm Street to make colorful street art. For a small fee, you will be assigned a spot on the street and given a set of pastels to use. All day on Saturday, artists work hard to execute their masterpieces. Saturday at the close of the festival, judges assess the pieces and prizes are awarded in both adult and children’s categories.
Children have multiple options planned just for them. On the Lanier Mansion lawn, the festival offers entertainment for the younger crowd with places for them to play and create their own artwork.
After you have shopped, you may want to sit and relax for a while. The Madison Chautauqua Entertainment garden is designed just for that. On the front lawn of the historical Lanier Mansion, shady seating is provided. We encourage you to kick back with a glass of Madison artisan made wine or beer while you enjoy more of the live entertainment.
For your convenience, parking and continuous shuttle services are available at Madison Consolidated High School on State Road 62. For a small fee, you can park in the large high school parking lot and let us take you down and drop you off at the main entrance of the festival. When you are finished shopping, simply come up the entrance and we will take you back to your car.
This festival truly is for the whole family. Whether you are looking for that special piece of art for your home, something good to eat, some good music to enjoy, something for the kids to do, or a nice cold beverage, Madison Chautauqua Festival of art strives to have a something for everyone.
Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art is a non-profit organization operating under the umbrella of Visit Madison Tourism. The volunteer committee and event coordinator meet monthly to plan and produce this event. Hundreds of volunteers, City of Madison employees and the Mayor of Madison work together to make the entire Chautauqua weekend a destination for young and old alike.