Lakeside now open for summer, but with many changes

Jun 10, 2020 | Entertainment | 0 comments

Lakeside Chautauqua has opened for the summer, but with simplified and reduced pricing for Season and Daily Chautauqua Passes, as well as parking. The Lakeside gates are in operation now until Labor Day, excluding Monday, Aug. 31 through Thursday, Sept. 3, which will be free admission and parking.

A Daily or Season Chautauqua Pass and Auto Pass will be required to enter Lakeside during the gated season. As always, admission for children age 12 and under and guests over the age of 90 is free.

Operation of the gates is considered paramount to controlling access to Lakeside events and venues and maintaining a safe and secure environment for all, especially kids that roam free within Lakeside during the summer months.

After deliberations with the Lakeside Chautauqua Board, it was decided that the gate should operate for the entire summer to provide the safety for the community and to cover the operating costs of Lakeside.

The cost of operating Lakeside is significant and the revenue from the season helps pay those operating bills. Roughly 72% of Lakeside’s funding comes in from April through August. Budgeted revenue for this year from all attendance-related activities, including season passes, daily gates fees, parking, hotels, groups and event fees totaled $5.8 million.

Lakeside is expecting attendance-related revenue with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to be less than half of what was budgeted. Lakeside is taking this expected loss of revenue very seriously and is implementing immediate steps to reduce overall costs through cuts in staffing, operating and programming costs for 2020.

In the past, the weeks of Conferences operated without gates fees because the West and East Ohio Conferences of the United Methodist Church paid significant fees to Lakeside. These facility fees paid by the conferences allowed them to use all of Lakeside’s meeting spaces, but it also included operation of all of the functions of Lakeside (security, shuffleboard, lifeguards) for the safety and enjoyment of the conference attendees and their families and guests. The conferences are not here this June and therefore are not paying any fees for the operation of Lakeside. The gate fees are necessary during those weeks to cover operating costs of Lakeside.

Lakeside employees, the board and its partners are working to assess the Chautauqua summer season as it monitors COVID-19 and follow the state government and health official orders to ensure that Lakesiders, staff and the community remain safe.

The Pavilion and Perry Park construction projects are donor funded and will continue. The donor-funded projects were underway before the pandemic hit, and there is an obligation to finish them for public safety reasons.

Lakeside has cancelled or postponed the following events: All recreational areas are closed, as well as the Wellness Center, Orchestra Hall, Hoover Auditorium, Bradley Temple, and The Underground/Teen Center.

Postponed are: May 29-31: Mystery & Adventure Weekend, postponed to the fall; June 7-11: West Ohio UMC Conference; June 12-14: Youth Annual Conference; June 14-18: East Ohio UMC Conference, postponed to Sept. 25-27; June 22-26: Chautauqua Vocal Workshop, postponed to 2021; June 26-28: Chautauqua Choral Festival, postponed to 2021; July 12-14: Band Directors’ Workshop, postponed to 2021. For Lakeside’s updated schedule of events, visit

Both the West Ohio and East Ohio Conferences of The United Methodist Church announced the postponement of their Annual Conferences.

The West Ohio Annual Conference (WOC), to be held June 7-11, will now be an abbreviated conference in Sept. The East Ohio Annual Conference (EOC), on June 14-18 is now an abbreviated Sept. 25-27 conference.

The Youth Annual Conference (YAC) of East Ohio on June 12-14, will not meet at Lakeside Chautauqua this summer.

The Lakeside campgrounds will open fully if they can meet required safety protocols.

Some of Lakeside’s outdoor recreation venues have begun to open. Miniature golf, shuffleboard, tennis and pickleball will begin to open this week.

The protocols for opening swimming pools (including the Splash Park and baby pool) and fitness centers are being reviewed.

Playgrounds, basketball and sand volleyball courts and gaga ball remain closed, even if you have your own equipment. The Lakeside Sailing Center and Waterfront Information Center will be open, renting kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

Venues currently closed include Hoover Auditorium, Orchestra Hall, Rhein Center, Heritage Hall Museum/Archives, Bradley Temple and The Underground/Teen Center. Outdoor teen programming will begin in late June. Orchestra Hall will serve as the studio for Community Worship Services, lectures and presentations offered virtually as Lakeside eases into the summer.

Most restaurants, shops and services in Lakeside are now open.

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