Enjoy cultural events online from Chautauqua County

Chamber Corner

To call this an unusual summer would be an understatement. With so many businesses still at partial capacity, numerous events canceled, and a lower than usual summer tourist influx, it has been abnormal. In the midst of it all, however, we have seen some extraordinarily creative work as some of our largest local organizations moved much of their programming online. A number of local organizations have been running online programs in place of their usual in-person events.

Through August 30th, the National Comedy Center is running its Virtual Comedy Festival. In a normal year the annual Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy brings some big-name comedians to Jamestown and draws thousands of people to large venues. This year, with all of it happening online, the National Comedy Center has been able to present an even larger parade of comics as they offer interesting conversations about their craft. The effort was born from the successful live streamed Carlin Experience event in April.

At the same time, the National Comedy Center reopened in July to limited capacity audiences, bringing guests back in their doors. Their “Laugh Safe” measures have been successful. The Center has been working hard to maintain a clean and sanitized space. They creatively pivoted to using a disposable stylus for a touch-free interactive experience. 99% of visitors have reported feeling safe during their visit and would recommend it to a friend. Marketing efforts for next year will focus on encouraging others to visit this spectacular showcase of comedy, nestled in a largely rural region that has had a lower impact from COVID-19 than some other major museum locations. Learn more about visiting or about the Virtual Comedy Festival at comedycenter.org.

Chautauqua Institution has also moved online for the summer. Through August 30th viewers can see lectures, performing arts, worship services, and more live streamed through a low-cost subscription via the CHQ Assembly video platform. They have also created the Virtual Porch platform to foster discussions and “community” an Online Classroom and Youth Programs to provide classes for all ages, and much more. With more than 8,000 video subscribers the Institution has drawn a broad audience, despite the lack of in-person programming. Visit chq.org to learn more about offerings online during this 2020 season.

Other organizations have followed suit. The Robert H. Jackson Center has presented an ongoing series of Tea Time programming, with the Jackson Center dialogues at 3pm each Thursday, and also ran a webinar commemorating the 75th anniversary of the signing of the London Agreement and Charter establishing the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Go to roberthjackson.org to learn about online programming and its archived materials.

Our local museums are open, including the Fenton History Center, Dunkirk Lighthouse, and Roger Tory Peterson Institute. The Audubon Community Nature Center continues to run programming for nature enthusiasts of all ages, all with social distancing in mind.

Chautauqua County remains a center for cultural activity, even during a pandemic. We remain a center for tourism, arts, and education, and we applaud all of the extra efforts by our local attractions to keep their programming and live visits available for residents and visitors alike.


Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce honors some of the county’s most community-minded individuals during the Annual Awards Banquet. Normally we hold this event in a large space, gathering more than 300 people for a night of socializing and recognition. We are not able to have a large crowd in an enclosed space this year so it will be different. But make no mistake, we are still planning for an evening of celebration and will honor all of our award recipients with a special program. We are also planning for a special keynote speaker this year.

The Virtual Chamber Awards Banquet is sponsored by Community Bank, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, DFT Communication, Digitell, Lawley Insurance, Media One Radio Group, National Grid, OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal.

Stay tuned for details to be announced and get ready to join us online for an awards program like no other. Save the date: October 8, 2020.




The local Census Complete Count Committee is still hard at work and seeking to highlight rural communities through the month of August. Working with the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation they have created Census Stickers and are seeking local businesses that will add the stickers to to-go/takeout meal containers or shopping bags to draw attention to the project. Materials will be provided. If your business is interested, please contact the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation or the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Census workers are going door to door to assist in this year’s count. That effort was delayed by the coronavirus, but is now underway with local workers hitting the streets regularly. At this point the field data collection is set to end by September 30.

You can also still complete the Census online at 2020census.gov. It takes just minutes and is safe and secure. Your answers to Census questions are always confidential.

We urge all residents to complete the Census, and all businesses to get involved by encouraging your employees, vendors, and contractors to complete the Census. It is a community effort that makes a genuine difference. Everyone counts!


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today