Photo Credit: 
Cheyenne Belew | The Chronicle

Mrs. Chadwick’s Bakery in Medicine Park hosted live Chautauqua music as a part of the community’s 2021 Plunge Week activities.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, Chautauqua was a series of “traveling shows and local assemblies” popular in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The shows were intended to educate and entertain adults with lectures, concerts and plays, which were typically held outdoors. These activities were modeled after those of Chautauqua — the resort town in southwestern New York.

Chautauqua is the birthplace of the trendy adult education movement. What does the actual term “Chautauqua” mean though? It is thought to have been derived from the American Indian name for Lake Chautauqua. It is translated “a bag tied in the middle” or “two moccasins tied together,” describing the shape of the lake. Medicine Park has taken this historic, hip concept of outdoor educational activities and recycled it for Plunge Week to encourage people to get out and enjoy life again.

This year’s musical lineup included local artists Rodney Whaley, Sarah Wright and Kerry Hartman who provided Wednesday morning’s Chautauqua music at Mrs. Chadwick’s bakery, where a small crowd enjoyed coffee and pastries. Young moms and children were among those taking in the sounds. Most found pleasure dining on picnic tables inside, appropriate to the Chautauqua tradition. Also present were Patrick Shaughnessy and Jean Schucker, organizers of Plunge Week activities and longtime Medicine Park residents. Gary Gregory, who runs the Discover Medicine Park Facebook page, shared Kiowa stories and stories of local historic interactions with others present.

Mrs. Chadwick’s Bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and makes custom cookies and treats by request. According to the bakery’s Facebook page, Mrs. Chadwick’s will be offering sandwiches beginning in March — another option for visitors seeking something short of The Plantation’s and Riverside Café’s more robust menus. Residents and visitors are welcome to come and enjoy the other Chautauqua events Plunge Week has to offer, leading up to Saturday’s beloved plunge in Bath Lake.