At the turn of the twentieth century, a small farmstead country store opened in Carters Valley, Tennessee, to the rattle of horse-drawn buggies and the various goings on of the Davidson family farm on which the store was situated. Looney’s Store functioned as a means of trade and barter for local and traveling customers until the Great Depression closed its doors, seemingly for good, in the early 1930s.
The road to Big Top Chautauqua winds uphill through the deep trees next to Lake Superior, far away from bustle, noise and light pollution. Every summer, thousands of people make this drive to see their favorite performers. The night is cool, and the atmosphere around the tent always lively. If the night is clear, you can see the stars, maybe even the northern lights. As if the preshow dinner of boiled and seasoned Lake Superior whitefish and Leinenkugel's beer isn't enough, the house band at Big Top Chautauqua rocks the crowd with shoe-tapping melodies full of guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin and electric woodwind solos. Summer in the Northwoods means nights of great performances at Big Top Chautauqua, Wisconsin's genuine old-fashioned, blue-and-grey, striped tent show.