About 200 artists and their wares are expected for the annual Madison Chautauqua, now about three weeks away, as festival organizers are putting finishing touches on plans.

Chautauqua Committee President Kara Hinze said that number is down from last year, but last year’s number was higher than usual.

Hinze said she and the other committee members are working to take care of details after the resignations of Amy Fischmer and Jenny Straub, the co-coordinators of the festival since 2015 when longtime coordinator Georgie Kelly retired. Hinze did not provide any information about why Fischmer and Straub left.

The annual juried arts festival includes artists from multiple disciplines who bring their wares to show and sell as well as entertainment and other activities throughout the weekend. Last year’s festival stretched from Vine Street to West Street and from Main Street to Vaughn Drive.

The artist booths this year include foods, clay/pottery, fiber, fine art, glass, jewelry, metal, painting, photography, stained glass, wearable, wood and other media.

Entertainers this year include Brice Hall, BG Johnson’s Big Bad Brass Review Revival All Stars, Melissa Lee, Emily Ann Thompson, the Rob Houze Trio, Bob Culberson, Big John Atkins and Paul Kelly.

The Madison Chautauqua was founded in 1901 and the small 10-day gathering of Sunday school teachers grew over the years into a large center of culture along the Ohio River. The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle provided correspondence schooling to adults in rural areas, and the festival grew to include not only morally inspiring sermons but also informative lectures, scientific demonstrations, dramatic readings, theatrical presentations, magic acts and musical performances.

It was discontinued during the Great Depression and didn’t return to downtown Madison until the early 1970s.

In 1971, Madison shop owners Oscar Bear and Emmett Wood, along with a group of local art teachers, including Lou Knoble, Hal Davis and Gary Chapman, revived the event in Madison. It consisted of artists sitting in their booths outside of their sponsor’s shop.

Even though the first year was not successful, the artists did exchange their works, and it sparked interest from Robert Fourhman and his wife, Merry. Fourhman approached the men and asked how he could get involved. He joined and adopted a leadership role.

Fourhman appealed to the New York Chautauqua committee which granted him permission, and the festival took on the Chautauqua name.

After a few years, Dixie McDonough, a local woman who had been volunteering, assumed the leading role of the festival. She brought the festival to national attention by inviting artists from across the U.S.

McDonough coordinated the festival for 18 years. After her withdrawal from the festival in 1993, Kelly, a five-year committee member, took over coordinating the festivities.

Kelly retired in December 2015, after serving as coordinator for 18 years. She was succeeded by former Chautauqua committee members Fischmer and Straub as co-coordinators.