art mtnmommaart mtnmommaAs a kid, everything in my house stopped for the Olympics. From the opening to the closing ceremony, any semblance of normal life was put on hold, and we spent day upon day glued to the games — a big treat since our weekly TV time was otherwise limited to the Cosby Show, Family Ties and Knight Rider.


Dutifully passing on this Olympics-obsession to my own children, I started planting seeds of excitement for the upcoming winter Olympics last weekend. My Kindergarten daughter instantly asked how old you have to be and whether she could be in them. (Self-confidence is one of her strong suits I might add.)

While the Olympics might be a long shot, you can find a contest of just about any speed at the Cherokee Indian Fair going on this week — from a baby crawling contest and bubble gum blowing contest to the oldie’s dance contest and game show mania. There are corn-shucking and wood-chopping contests, the greasy pig contest, an Elvis impersonator contest and the infamous “Pretty Legs” contest for guys.

The Cherokee Indian Fair boasts all the favorites of a county fair — including mid-way carnival rides and games — but with a uniquely Cherokee influence. There are fry bread and bean bread contests, several stickball exhibition games, traditional Cherokee dancing and drumming, the work of  Cherokee artists on display, a re-enactment of a Cherokee legion in the Civil War and a blow gun contest. 

In its 101st year, the fair is a bastion of Cherokee culture with a long and storied tradition. It runs through Saturday at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds.

Another fun event for kids this week is Star Wars family night at the Jackson County Library in Sylva at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. Get autographs of some of your favorite Star Wars characters and partake in Star Wars-themed snacks and games.

If you want a date away from the kids, partake in the Taste of Sylva from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5. While you stroll downtown sampling local cuisine from 20 participating restaurants, you can leave your kids at Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy for an afternoon of arts, crafts, games and music. Tickets for the Taste of Sylva are $20 in advance, and for an extra $10 per kid for the child care.

If you live in Haywood, act fast to get your sweet “Fitness Challenge” punch card this week. For $10, you get 24 visits to a host of gyms and fitness centers. Kid-friendly sites on the list include MusicWorks Performing Arts and Fred Riley’s Martial Arts, which have classes that kids moving. Or try the exercise classes for kids and teens at the Med-West Haywood Fitness Center, where you can work out on the side.

If nothing else, use the cards to get a ton of visits to the indoor swimming pool at the Waynesville Rec Center and to Smoky Mountain Sk8way for the next six weeks. You can buy the pass at the Waynesville Rec Center on Thursday, Oct. 3, or at the Fitness Connection in downtown Waynesville on Friday, Oct. 4.

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