As the sun dips below Coopersville Farm Museum and Event Center’s grain silo, local musicians gather in the high-ceilinged hall against the backdrop of patchwork quilts and antique farm tools. They sing gospel, country, and folk songs that have been passed down for generations. Events such as these are one facet of the museum’s mission to honor and uphold rural traditions. In addition to the monthly jam sessions, the 12,000-square-foot facility hosts quilting circles, line dancing, and other skill-swapping events. Curators spotlight the region’s agrarian past by recruiting antique-farming tools and folk art and freeing hopelessly lost scarecrows from corn mazes. In addition to shining a light on the region’s past, the museum strives to support current culture makers; The hall serves as a gallery space for local artists, and during the youth-led Kids’ Day local teens teach tykes creative skills.
Color Me Rad stages 5K races that transform runners into mobile rainbows by launching cheerful barrages of colored cornstarch. Each color station along the racetrack flings a new, nontoxic pigment at passersby, who wear white shirts to enhance the chromatic onslaught's costuming effects. Brilliant neon-blue, green, purple, and yellow clouds dapple participants along the way, and the race concludes with a prismatic finish-line finale as sprinters chuck colors at each other in celebration. The race's noncompetitive credo shifts the emphasis from speed to silliness, and a portion of its proceeds go to local charities.
Upon registration, each runner collects a Color Me Rad T-shirt, sunglasses, sponsor gifts, and a race bib. Though they don't receive a gift packet, runners younger than 8 years old can sprint for free, provided they have a waiver signed by a guardian and won't give in to demands for gold from confused leprechauns.
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At Lil Learners, students ages 3–12 gather in groups of 3–10 to hone skills in arts and athletics classes, each of which focuses on developing a different part of the brain. Young pencil-wielders in visual arts classes sharpen a studioful of skills including fashion design, comic-book drawing, photography, and building toothpick models of San Francisco. Alternatively, little limbs can kick and chop their way through the athletics curriculum, which includes fencing, martial arts, and synchronized spitball-slinging, or choose between four different dance classes to learn a melody-oriented approach to appendage-whirling. Foreign-language classes teach youthful vocal chords to warble unfamiliar syllables, and music and theater classes round out the school’s eclectic agenda with performance-ready flair.
The laundry masters at family-owned Hi-Tone Cleaners suss out stains and eradicate unpleasant odors with a variety of services honed over the course of three decades. Clothes caretakers make linens preen under the affectionate grandmother-like embrace of a dry cleaning, and shirts bask in the soppiness, then dryness, of an old-fashioned laundering. The team can also shape up ill-fitting duds during alterations and repairs and grant boots with enthusiastic go-go owners a pulchritude-bestowing makeover during shoe care and repair. Hi-Tone Cleaners' stain fighters also makes same-day services available in case of dry-cleaning emergencies such as an impromptu party or a rumor that Publishers Clearing House will show up by the end of the day.
At The Paragon School of Pet Grooming, textbooks walk in on all fours. More than 150 pets come into the school each week, which means students get ample hands-on practice as they master bathing and brushing or work their way to becoming full pet stylists. The school's instructors teach how to work with cats and dogs, purebreds and mixed breeds. Pet owners also benefit from the school's dog- and cat-grooming services, which are available to the general public.