CONGREGATION BAMIDBAR, which conducts Shabbat and holiday services at United Methodist Church, has acquired a Torah that is more than 100 years old and originally came from Poland. A welcoming ceremony will be held Sunday, Aug. 23, from 2 until 4 p.m. Call 828-507-8173 for more information or to RSVP.


THE LITERARY HOUR, an hour of poetry and prose reading, will be held today (Thursday) at 7 p.m. at John Campbell Folk School.

FRED COOK’S FARM will be the site for the annual Scott Hogsed Memorial Youth Conservation and Education Day on Saturday, Aug. 22. Youth will learn about outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing, archery and firearm safety, and more. There will be a shooting range, fishing pond and bow range. Ages 5 to 18 are invited. A free wild game lunch will be provided. Donations for the wild game lunch are being accepted. Hunters and fishermen with spare meat are asked to call Hogsed’s Sportswear at 828-389-3088. Visit or call 828-837-2210, ext. 4, for more information or to pre-register.


THE NEXT COMMUNITY MUSIC JAM at the Marianna Black Library will be today (Thursday) from 6 until 7:30 p.m. in the library auditorium. Anyone with an “unplugged” instrument and singers are invited to join. Call 828-488-3030 for more information.

THE HERITAGE ALIVE! MOUNTAIN YOUTH TALENT CONTEST application deadline will be Wednesday, Aug. 26. The contest, sponsored by Jackson County 4-H Club and Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, will be held Saturday, Sept. 5, during the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Railfest, from 10 a.m. to noon. Best of Show winner will have the opportunity to perform at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day on Saturday, Sept. 26. Entry forms are available at (under 4-H Youth Development tab) and Call 828-586-4009 or email for more information.


HAYWOOD DANCERS will host a Ballroom Dance Friday, Aug. 21, at Angie’s Dance Academy. Recorded ballroom music will be played from 8 until 10 p.m. Admission is $10, with refreshments provided. Call 828-734-8726 for more information.


UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF FRANKLIN will host two seminars on Sunday, Aug. 23. The first, titled “Bootleggers, Baptists and Doing Well by Doing Good,” will be at 11 a.m. The featured speaker will be Holly Ulbrich. The other will be held at 1 p.m. and is an Eco Forum on fermenting food skills. Participants should bring their cooking gear and be ready to sample other’s creations. Call 828-524-3691 for a three-page list of fermenting ideas.


CHERYL WATERS-TORMEY, an associate professor at Western Carolina University, will present “Energy Literacy and How ‘Fracking’ Fits In, North Carolina and Beyond” today (Thursday) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Nature Center at the Highlands Biological Station. The program is part of the Zahner Conservation Lecture Series, held each week and designed to help educate and inspire the public through talks by well-known regional scientists, conservationists, artists and writers. Visit or call 828-526-2221 for information and a schedule.


MOUNTAIN RESEARCH STATION will host a tour and discussion of current organic and specialty crop research projects today (Thursday) from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participants will hear from researchers about organic cucurbits, broccoli, tomatoes and farmscaping; stevia and truffles; and see the results of the studies designed to help farmers and gardeners in the region. Call for more information or to RSVP.

THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION will conduct a lecture on dementia titled “Effective Communication Strategies” at the Waynesville Library today (Thursday) from 1 to 2:30 p.m. This program is designed to offer practical information and resources to help dementia caregivers learn to decode verbal and behavioral messages from people with dementia. For information, call 828-356-2507.

THE 2015 HAYWOOD COUNTY FAIR will be held from Tuesday, Aug. 25, to Monday, Aug. 31. Call 858-456-3575 for more information, exhibit booth and food vendor application materials or a complete fair catalog.