In “the spirit of Chautauqua” the local Congregational UCC church will honor its longstanding heritage of intellectual discernment and public entertainment by offering a “Day of Curiosity,” say event coordinators. On Saturday, February 11, the church will host a series of expert presentations on an eclectic range of subjects including sustainable home farming, physically moving better, engaging humor to effectively communicate, defeating racism, dream interpretation, discerning truth, and the birth of the universe.

The Chautauqua tradition, originating locally near Jamestown, goes back to the 1870s according to church pastor Rev. Corey Keyes. “Chautauquas were the rock concerts of their day,” Keyes noted. “All around America Chautauquas sprang up as organizers gathered orators, teachers, musicians, and showmen of all types and invited the broad public. The meetings were social, educational, fun, and usually held outdoors during the summer. Our upcoming Day of Curiosity is designed to help people connect, learn something new, and shake off the winter doldrums,” Keyes added. “It also honors our church tradition of independent thinking and challenging social norms. We aided escaped slaves during the 1850s and hired among the state’s first ordained female pastors in 1892. Two decades ago we became an open and affirming church, recognizing the sacred gifts of everyone, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other artificial means of exclusion.” 

The Day of Curiosity event is secular, non-denominational and open to everyone, said event leader Laurel Nelson. “The day isn’t about religion, it’s about experiencing new ideas, cracking open your mind, having fun, and maybe making a new friend or two.”

The donation-optional one-day event is open to all. Pre-registration is encouraged at

For more information:

Laurel Nelson (event manager) 585-727-1687 Email:

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