18 - Star Vacation Homes


18 - Star Vacation Homes
18 Tennessee Star Journal
January 24 - 30, 2007
Southern Exposure VI
Travel, experience other
features excitement and cultures without leaving U.S.
By Sherry Brunson
Rose Beason
It is time for the 6th Annual
Southern Exposure at Ober
Gatlinburg on Friday, Feb.
2, 2007. The winter games
consist of ski and snowboard
competitions followed by a
lively cardboard sled derby.
This event, which traditionally exudes hilarity, is great family
fun. There is no admission charge for
Southern Exposure VI will kick
off with a skiing
and snowboarding competition at
12:30 p.m. where
skiers and snowboarders will compete in slalom races.
A spine-tingling ski
and snowboard jumping competition follows at 2:30 p.m.
The competition concludes
with an award ceremony for
each at 4 p.m.
The final event of the day
is the most anticipated by local fun lovers. The Cardboard
Sled Classic Race is sure to
bring some hilarity to the
slopes. This race, which begins at 5 p.m., features homemade cardboard sleds painted
and fashioned in a variety of
fantastic shapes and colors.
Ships, trains and cars, to name
a few, limited only by the
bounds of imagination, race
down a snow covered mountain. Sleds are constructed of
cardboard, paper, tape and
adhesive to hold it all together.
Each sled is operated by at
team of 2-4 adults.
Only 45 entrants are permitted in the race. Awards
include: Speediest Sled, Most
Sluggish Sled and Super Sled
Design. The event is sponsored by Ober Gatlinburg and
The Helen Ross McNabb
Center, a regional nonprofit
provider of mental health,
substance abuse prevention,
and social services located in
Knoxville, will be the recipient
of funds raised by the Southern Exposure 5 cardboard sled
race. “Besides being a really
fun race, the funds raised will
be put to very good use,” said
Kelly Hodges, Special Events
Coordinator for McNabb.
“They will supplement program funding and enable the
Center to enhance the services
we now provide the children
and families of East Tennessee. We are very grateful to
the sponsors, volunteers and
participants for their support
of our efforts.”
The Helen Ross McNabb
Center was founded in 1948
and was the first community
mental health center in Tennessee. The center serves 21
East Tennessee counties and
will assist over 6,500 children,
families and adults in 2006.
Limited parking is available on top of the mountain at
the ski resort, but visitors can
ride America’s largest aerial
tramway up to Ober Gatlinburg from the tram terminal in
downtown Gatlinburg.
The slopes of Ober Gatlinburg will glisten under the
stars during the Night Magic
Throughout January and
February, skiers and snow-
boarders will be able to ski
well into the evening during
Night Magic Skiing.
Every Monday through
Friday night, the bright lights
along the slopes of Ober
Gatlinburg will light up the
moonlit snow. Plan on spending the entire day and night
cutting snow, or enjoy the day
in Gatlinburg before heading
up the mountain for an evening snow sports excitement!
For more information,
please contact Kathy Doyle at
865.436.5423 or Mary Crawford at 865.637.9711 or visit
“Let’s Sketch a Bird!”
By Deborah M. Falk
Last week (January 13
– 21st) The City of Pigeon
Forge, Office of Special
Events hosted its 17th Annual
“Wildlife Wilderness Week”
The weeklong event provided
its visitors with numerous
outdoor themed activities
intended to connect its guest
with the great outdoors, and
to familiarize them with the
Great Smoky Mountains.
With just under 100 experts, the event provided its
guests with a series of free
hikes, seminars, and a host of
lectures and classes that were
available through pre-registration by the participant.
The classes, lectures and
seminars were rich with
knowledge, and ranged from
the colorful history of the
Great Smoky Mountains area,
to the unique, and exotic plant
(Wildflower Identification,
Seed to Seed: Unseen Life of
Plants) and animal life (Understanding the Black Bear,
Wild Turkeys in Tennessee)
native to the area.
Many guided tours were
offered featuring field trips
(including bird watching and
identification hikes) and hikes
to different areas of the Great
Smoky Mountains.
These hikes ranged from an
easy walk (for the beginner),
and tour of the area, to much
more strenuous (for advanced
hikers) multi-mile excursions
throughout the region. No matter what level of fitness, there
were a variety of hikes provided
to allow everyone to enjoy the
great outdoors.
A variety of art, photography,
and various music programs
were available (Let’s Sketch
a Bird, Beginning Dulcimer
Instruction, or the highly popular Nature Photography Workshop), and numerous programs
18-Back Page.indd 1
such as Nature Games for Kids
were presented and available
for children. Many artists, naturalists, environmentalists, and
other experts contributed and
shared a vast wealth of information, and knowledge with its
visitors, and participants. With
it’s relaxed and environment,
they made the event fun for its
During one class, “Advanced
Sketching – Let’s Draw a Bird”,
artist and instructor, Louise
Bales told the class, “You need
to relax and have fun when you
draw. It’s supposed to be fun!”
She added laughing, “I don’t
know about you, but if it’s not
fun, I don’t want to do it.”
That seems to have been
the overall theme for Wildlife
Wilderness Week. Each day
provided numerous activities
that were jam packed with in-
Although the lure of exotic
cultures may beckon, often the
reality is not affordable. It is the
old dilemma of “champagne
tastes with a
beer pocketbook.” A little
creativity can
solve the problem for those
who wish to
encounter other
ways of life
with a minimal
of cost…and
you don’t even
have to leave
U.S. shores.
A trip to Orlando, Fla. is filled with such
a diversity of cultures and experiences, which guarantees to
scratch the travel itch. I recently
visited the area, thoroughly
enjoyed a enriching experience
in Orlando.
We stayed at All Star
Homes in Kissimmee. It
was wonderful! We had an
enclosed pool, game room,
theater room, computer,
five master bedrooms, laundry room and myriads of
other amenities. We were
in a gated community, so
didn’t worry about security.
We didn’t have to worry
about what we looked like
in our bathing suits or tipping people. It allowed us
to relax thoroughly when we
came in each evening, and
actually spoiled us. There
were times that we were
tempted to stay at the house,
rather than go out. Costs
are similar to other lodging,
especially with groups or
families. Daily maid service is
available. All-Star Homes are
definitely first class and highly
Medieval Life, in Kissimmee, the only real working
Medieval village in the United
States will give you a glimpse
into earlier time and culture.
Carpenters, blacksmiths, potters, weavers and coppersmiths
work in the village and display
their work. The village contains
an 800 year old winepress as
well as an 800 year old weaving loom. A dungeon features
artifacts from the dark side of
medieval life. An appreciation
for clean floors, the kindness
of civilization and microwaves
came to mind.
Medieval Times, a dinner
show and live tournament, is
adjacent to the village. The more
than 100 costumed medieval
characters, games of skill and
daring displays of horseback riding skill on beautiful Andalusian
horses is worth seeing. Visitors walk over the drawbridge
into the castle and are greeted
by costumed performers with
“Welcome Milady, Welcome
Mexico, Norway, France, Italy
and Germany, to name a few.
Each country represented features restaurants with food from
their homeland. Workers in the
areas are actually from the
countries they represent. Signs
in the areas are in the native
languages. There was that
minute of culture shock when
you realize you can’t read
the sign. Personally, a deeper
respect for other cultures was
gained through the time spent
in the area.
The British area featured
a cozy tea shop, a singing
Yo u a r e
in another
a world
where fantasy seems
somehow possible.
The WordSpring Discovery
Center in Orlando displays
hundreds of cultures, in a unique
way. The 4500 square feet
WordSpring features hands-on
exhibits, interactive games, and
video presentations focusing on
the history of the Bible.
Lifelike statues, dressed in
costumes from all over the
world, speak John 3:16 in a
variety of languages. Facets
of language, such as a tonal
group in South America, which
whistles each sentence after
speaking it, are sure to broaden
your horizons. Visitors may
enter their name into a computer
and receive a printed document
with it spelled in a variety of
languages and alphabets. I left
feeling amazed at the loving
heart of God to care for such a
variety of peoples.
Disney’s Epcot was different than anticipated. Pavilions
in the World Showcase feature
group, called “The British,”
remarkably like the Beatles, a
pub and a fish and chips shop.
The buildings, sidewalks and
gardens were typically British. I
wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
Although I spent only three
days in the Orlando area, I felt as
if I had been around the world.
Granted, it was just a sampling,
but it more than satisfied my
basic wanderlust for a while.
Allegiant Air will be offering
a non-stop flight from Knoxville
to Orlando beginning February
15 for as low as $49 one way, if
booked on their Web site.
“Orlando is a very popular destination for travelers
of East Tennessee,” said Kirk
Huddleston, Chairman of the
Metropolitan Knoxville Airport
Authority’s Board of Commissioners. “Allegiant Air will
offer nonstop, low-fare service
on aircraft that is comfortable,
spacious and affordable.”
We have the opportunity to
experience a variety of cultures
with a minimal amount of expense. Have a great trip…Bon
On the Web:
formation, and events that made
learning fun both for the young,
and the ‘young at heart.”
Everyone that participated
in this event was instrumental
in making Wildlife Wilderness Week a great success.
Each expert imparted valuable
knowledge to their guests, and
provided their guests with the
opportunity to ask questions,
and learn more about the local
native wildlife in the area.
With their willingness to
impart their vast knowledge to
the nature lover, the event was
truly an educational experience
for both young and old alike. It
provided all involved a wealth
of environmental education,
wonderful music to listen to,
and lots of fun-filled events to
participate in. Wildlife Wilderness Week was a wonderful
1/23/2007 12:54:42 PM