See & Do at Lakeside

Once Upon a Porch

'Once Upon a Porch' Launches

For 28 summers, Lakeside’s own minstrel, Chip Richter, has been leading kids (and grownups) to Bradley Temple for “more fun than a kid should be allowed to have.”

Now, Chip is looking to expand God Squad, Lakeside’s beloved children’s program, through a new online streaming show for the whole family. The new show will be called “Once Upon a Porch.” The vision is to create the same safe, nurturing environment families experience at God Squad and Lakeside and deliver it right to your living room.

Online Streaming Now

The “Once Upon a Porch” project, 12 years in the making, is part of Chip’s dream to expand God Squad and the Lakeside experience to a wider, year-round audience.

However, “Once Upon a Porch” is not Chip’s first foray into streaming content for the whole family. During the pandemic, he launched “Lunch with Mr. Chip,” a weekly live-streamed show for kids, on his YouTube channel. Chip was surprised by how well the show was received and how meaningful it was to families to make that connection.

Setting the Stage

“Once Upon a Porch” will take place in the familiar space of Bradley Temple, but inside families will be greeted by something new. Construction of a brand-new set, modeled after a large, front porch like you can see around Lakeside. In addition to the new set, families will also see brand new seating, carpet, lighting and fresh paint.

The plan is to release a total of 6-10 episodes starting in 2023. It’s Lakeside’s goal to provide the same fun, educational and inspirational experience kids have during the summer at God Squad all year long.

“I am super inspired by Mr. Rogers,” Chip said. “One thing I have always appreciated about Fred Rogers was the person you saw on TV was the same person you met in real life. It’s always been in my heart to present myself just as I am. And so far, it’s worked! However, there will be a lot of fun characters out of my imagination that will be joining me in the fun.”

Families can expect to see familiar friends like Wesley the Cat and Ellie the Dog, as well as meeting brand new characters.

What About God Squad?

“Once Upon a Porch” will not be a substitute for God Squad, but rather the beloved family program will remain “the heart and center of it all,” said Chip. The new show “will be adding to what has already been planted, built and nurtured all these years.” Families can expect to see Chip and God Squad return for many years to come.

Special Thanks

Thanks to the Grindley family and friends, in memory of Ted Grindley, a new theatre set and stage is currently being constructed in Bradley Temple. It will have state-of-the-art cameras and sound equipment for the “Once Upon a Porch” experience. Additional improvements will be made with window and door repairs, new seats, carpet and fresh paint.

Ted strongly believed that two of Lakeside’s greatest treasures were Chip Richter and God Squad. These gifts will allow “Once Upon a Porch” to be experienced all year long, a dream come true for Chip and his fans.

Very soon, Lakesiders can also bring a piece of Bradley Temple home by purchasing the old seats. To honor a child, grandchild or even great-grandchild, community members will have an opportunity to sponsor new chairs in spring 2023.

As the project gets underway and the “Once Upon Porch” episodes go into production, we’ll share the enhancements and changes of this special building through e-newsletters and Facebook.

Bring ‘Once Upon A Porch’ To Your Hometown

In addition to streaming “Once Upon a Porch,” Lakeside and Chip are partnering to bring “Once Upon a Porch” to your community. If you’ve been to a Chip Richter family concert before, you know they are interactive, entertaining and inspiring for kids, parents and even grandparents. It truly is an “all age” event designed to be something children and adults will enjoy together.

In the middle of the long, cold, dark days of winter, what could be more welcoming than a cozy night of music for the whole family. That’s what you can expect when you sponsor a “Once Upon a Porch” Family Concert. All venue sizes are welcome…

– Churches
– Schools
– Libraries
– Performing Art Centers

For more information about bringing “Once Upon a Porch” to your hometown, contact Jeannie Fleming-Gifford, Lakeside Chautauqua V.P. of Programming at (419) 798-4461, ext. 110.

There are loads of more information coming with pictures and videos. Keep checking back, and please be sure to share your email address for the latest updates.

Ready for adventure?

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