Week Three saw the CHQ Olympics — a series of fun, silly competitions much less serious than those in ancient Greece.
Throughout the week, Chautauquans of all ages were invited to participate or compete in over 25 different events all over Institution grounds. Everyone — from those at Children’s School and Boys’ and Girls’ Club, to their parents and grandparents — were able to get involved.
Starting the Olympics on Sunday, Chautauquans were welcomed by a kick-off carnival, complete with a bounce house, a tie-dye station and carnival games right on Bestor Plaza for everyone who passed by to enjoy.
However, this was just the tip of the iceberg. As the week continued, events ranged from poetry and healthy living competitions to Chautauqua-wide scavenger hunts, and from kayaking down at Sports Club to putt-putt competitions at the Chautauqua Golf Club.
Aquatics had a large influence on some of the Olympic programming this year. Sports Club Director Deb Lyons said her staff was happy with event turnout and was pleased with the weather cooperating — to an extent — throughout the week.
Despite possible thunderstorms looming on the horizon, the weather held, and water events like kayaking, paddle boarding and the giant inflatable swan race went on.
Even Thursday, when the morning gave way to on-and-off rain, it wasn’t enough to stop Chautauquans from coming out for the new annual tradition of the Beach-to-Beach Color Sprint.
Up until the race’s start, people signed up for one of the most memorable events of the season. One young Chautauquan even arrived minutes before the start of the race, asking his mother if the colors would ruin the cast on his arm. His mother said the cast would be OK, so he entered the run and ended up winning it all — cast covered in bright neon paints.
The Chautauqua Boys’ and Girls’ Club held its annual Water Olympics competition Friday at Club’s waterfront. After being postponed due to possible thunderstorms, children came out with twice as much energy, ready to compete and win for the Red or Blue teams, especially after last summer’s Red victory in a tiebreaker cheer-off competition. Whoops and cheers could be heard along the waterfront from counselors and children as young as first grade, rallying to stay ahead to take home the title of Water Olympics champions.
As the teams worked through games like free throw shooting, kayak races and Tug-a-Melon, other groups were playing Inner Tube Pull and beach volleyball. While scores fluctuated throughout the day, the Red team eventually pulled ahead to take the win once more, edging out the Blue team 225-184. As the competition ended, friends shared ice pops between teams and laughed about the day.
The CHQ Olympics has come to a close, and the week is rolling into the next. While inflatable swans and obstacle courses have been deflated and paint-stained shirts will go into the laundry, they’ll be ready for a spirited return next summer.