Big Top Chautauqua's Summer Season of 1999

Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua kicks off its 14th summer season of presenting professional entertainment in its canvas tent theater near Lake Superior at Mt. Ashwabay three miles south of Bayfield, WI, just off Highway 13. The Big Top is planning a grand season with over 70 performances of regional and national musicians, as well as their historical House Show musicals.

New First Night

Big Top Chautauqua embarks on its 14th season with a lively evening of music led by the Blue Canvas Orchestra and the entire 30th Star cast with jumpin’ house tunes and witty banter. The show is Friday, May 28 at 8:15PM.

Gordon Lightfoot

On Saturday, July 3 at 4:30PM & 8:15PM, Canadian-born singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot will perform his popular folk music under the big tent. Lightfoot has been nominated for five Grammy Awards and 17 Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy). Lightfoot topped the charts with hits like If You Could Read My Mind and Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. For over four decades, Lightfoot has delighted audiences with his songs about love, history and life.

Children’s Chautauqua

On Saturday, July 10 at 1PM, plan on joining storyteller, juggler, magician, and all-around funny guy, Bob Kann for an afternoon of Pure Fun. Giggle your way through his juggling act, be amazed at the mystical magic of this amazing trickster. Bob’s stories and antics will spark your imagination and put a smile on your face.

Join storyteller and musician Kevin McMullin & Chautauqua’s very own Dr. Third Eye on Saturday, August 14 at 1PM for a wonderful afternoon of enchanting tales. McMullin weaves together traditional and original songs and tales into a lively tapestry that calls for audience participation. He enhances his stories by adding the violin, autoharp, guitar, piano, and tuba.

Lighthouse Lore

On Thursday, September 9 at 7:30PM, Big Top’s own Blue Canvas Orchestra takes center stage with a rousing tribute to Lake Superior. This show coincides with the Apostle Island Lighthouse Festival.

House Shows

The House Shows are the heart and soul of Big Top Chautauqua. Each show is an original, historical musical created by the Nelson-Ferris Concert Company and filled with memorable songs by Warren Nelson. Many regional musicians come together to perform these productions, blending their talents to tell intriguing tales about regional culture. Through song, poetry, theater and thousands of historic photographs illuminated on a big screen, Big Top’s House Shows share the stories of the past with the people of the present. Call for times and dates.

Riding the Wind

This popular production showcases the beauty and history of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands. Combining original music, drama, and history with regional photos, this show allows a step back into the past to get a glimpse of lumberjacks, sailors, and the like. Lively songs and stories bring the days of the boom towns in northern Wisconsin to life.

Keeper of the Light

A tribute to the men and women who kept the lights burning in the sometimes treacherous waters of Lake Superior, this show contains tales of fierce storms, unstoppable shipwrecks, and long, haunting evenings. Based on the journal writings of Apostle Island lighthouse keepers, this show is a fascinating thriller.

30th Star

30th Star -- Wisconsin’s Historical Musical is a songwitness account celebrating 150 years of Wisconsin statehood. The show recalls the era when immigrant families searched for opportunity in the Wisconsin wilds. Audience members will also hear stories by Wisconsin Native Americans, the state’s earliest settlers, and the voyageurs who witnessed the transformation of the area and much more. These tales are told through songs, storytelling, and hundreds of historic photographs drawn from archives and collections across the state.

Take It to the Lake

Through a series of songs, poems, readings and mimes, this musical shows the power and beauty of Lake Superior. A host of characters will be on hand to talk about the lake including the infamous Dr. Third Eye and his amazing Water Wizard.

Chautaqua began presenting shows at its tent in 1986, and has entertained over 216,000 people in its first 13 summers. For a complete schedule of Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua events, call 888-244-8368 or visit


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