By Bob Keith
August is the month for “fun in the sun” and “festivals”.
The Lake Lure Olympiad enters its 14th year as the premier destination sports event in Western North Carolina. I want to reach out to you readers who have heard about the Olympiad but have not participated or attended. Not all can participate because some of the contests are challenging and extremely strenuous. But there is something for everyone.
For example, there is a fun golf tournament on Friday that includes a luncheon and free craft beer from the Hickory Nut Brewing Company and, of course, medals for the winning teams. Get a foursome together and sign up to play. Also you can play or enjoy the Pickleball tournament all three days. Competition is fast, fun and fierce. Rumor has it that a record number of players have signed up for the event this year. All proceeds from these events go to local charities.
Friday evening features a “Slam the Dam” 10K run (6.2 miles) from Ingles to the beach at Rumbling Bald Resort along the hilly and winding Buffalo Shoals Rd. In the field of some 200 weekend warriors we expect a former US and Olympic steeplechase runner, Anthony Famiglietti, who usually runs away from the field, as well as young athletes from East Lincoln HS that placed three in the top ten finishers in last year’s event. Unbelievably exciting! While all this is going on, you can observe the Opening Ceremonies featuring the lighting of the Olympiad torch, box boat races and talented water skiers from Lake Lure Adventures. Then follow that up with free ice cream sundaes and dance to the music of local DJ Michael Spouse to cap off the evening.
We get fired up early Saturday morning with the Triathlon at 8am and the Jr Olympiad at 10am, both on the beachfront of Rumbling Bald Resort. The “Dare to TRI” consists of a 750M swim, a 25K bike ride and a 5K run. It’s exciting and exhilarating to watch over 300 athletes make the transition from swim to bike and then bike to run in an effort to challenge their personal bests. The Jr Olympiad is for young participants from ages 4 – 14 competing in 5 events: a 40 yard dash, an obstacle course, a standing broad jump, a baseball accuracy toss and a basketball shoot. New this year we are expecting a team from Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy to come and challenge the forces from Lake Lure Classical Academy. Let’s see which side of the county prevails. Award ceremonies will follow all events.
Chimney Rock Village is alive and abuzz with athletes early Sunday morning in anticipation of the 5K Run and 25 mile as they prepare to “Dominate the Rock”.. A special benefit for spectators is that they can enter the Park free as long as they enter before 7:30am. You can watch a spectacular sunrise and then cheer on the exhausted runners and cyclists as they finish at the chimney and then thrill in their personal achievement. The Olympiad culminates with recognizing those special competitors who performed and completed “Three Races in Three” days. What an accomplishment! Come out and join in the fun. More information can be found at lakelureolympiad.com.
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Two weeks after the Olympiad you can hear the sound of music echoing through the mountains as folks get down with dirty dancing. The 9th annual Dirty Dancing Festival opens on Friday August 24th with performances by the “Extraordinaires” and our own “Lake Lure Cloggers” while attendees have the opportunity to dance the night away. The highlight of the evening however is the showing of the classic movie, Dirty Dancing, on a large screen in Morse Park. Bring your lawn chairs and/or blankets and relive the summer camp romance of “Johnny and Baby”.
The festivities continue on Saturday with multiple music groups for your listening, foot-tapping and dancing pleasure including the “Silk Groove Band”, the “Flashback Party Band” and “Cindy and Randy Floyd with Gene Pharr”. There will be Dirty Dancing lessons, shag competition, watermelon carrying races and a “Baby” Lake Lift competition. Finally, the Asheville Ballet will perform dance routines from the movie throughout the day. Couple this with arts and crafts vendors, food trucks and a beer, wine and cider garden, and you’ve got a winning outdoor, weekend experience. And if you haven’t had enough excitement and frivolity, come to the “after party, party” held at Rumbling Bald Resort, the Lake Lure Inn, the Geneva Riverside Tiki Bar or any one of the adult beverage establishments in the Gorge. It will make for a most memorable time. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to dirtydancing.com.
Enjoy your summer and these festivals for the “time of your life”!