We all know Boulder’s Chautauqua Park is a beautiful and amazing place. Now it’s also a national award-winning site!

Every year the Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) network celebrates the best places in local government. From a field of 32 nationwide locations and through five rounds (similar to March Madness), voters crowned Colorado Chautauqua with the ELGL Knope Award.

And, yes, the award is named after Leslie Knope, the character from the show Parks and Recreation.

Each year, this recognition program showcases and celebrates places that local government maintains and manages. This year’s focus was on “Historic and Cultural sites,” recognizing that governments are on the front lines of finding ways to honor history while also reflecting the reality of that history.

Colorado Chautauqua was nominated by the City of Boulder’s Parks and Director Ali Rhodes and Assistant City Manager Pam Davis. The site is owned by the city and operated by both the city and long-term leaseholder, Colorado Chautauqua Association (CCA).

“Colorado Chautauqua is a place our community comes to listen to music in the auditorium, stay in a historic cottage, have fun in the park, enjoy beautiful views, and hike on amazing trails,” said Rhodes. “Winning the Knope Award is our opportunity to share Chautauqua on a national scale. The entire site is a testament to a long-standing partnership, with CCA and the city working together to provide a place where there is something for everyone.”

Colorado Chautauqua offers cultural, educational, social, and recreational experiences. Did you know:

  • More than a million people visit every year.
  • CCA has been hosting concerts and music festivals in the auditorium since 1898.
  • CCA held an “Art in the Park” event where blank bear statues were made into works of art and raised $36,800 for nonprofit partners, the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, and the Colorado Chautauqua nonprofit.
  • The playground was renovated in 2021 and designed by city staff to include a refurbished playhouse, new play structure, new hill slides, a new swing set, and a large climbing boulder, dubbed the “sixth flatiron,” and more.

“We’ve always known that Chautauqua has a special place in the heart of Boulder, but winning this award makes it abundantly clear!” said CCA Chief Executive Officer Shelly Benford. “The support we felt from the community was phenomenal. Thank you to the city for being such outstanding partners, to the Parks & Recreation Department for nominating us, and for all the people who voted to show their appreciation for this incredible place.”

Thank you to the Boulder community who voted for Colorado Chautauqua throughout multiple rounds and for making us Knope Award winners.

The above video was posted during the finals for the ELGL Knope Award.