To weather his career as a master sergeant and a decorated Special Forces combat veteran, Shihan Randy McElwee needed a solid grasp on combat maneuvers. Nowadays, the retired McElwee teaches the pragmatic self-defense skills that got him through battle at his martial-arts studio, American Black Belt Academy. The school specializes in the official hand-to-hand combat system of the US military: Gracie Brazilian jujitsu. The system’s standing and ground moves harness leverage to take on larger opponents as well as help participants neutralize surprise attacks. For a broader focus, students can opt for an integrated martial-arts fitness workout, which combines jujitsu with muay thai kickboxing and Japanese shotokan karate. Regardless of their specificity, all of the studio’s classes enhance focus, self-confidence, and courage when the laundry room’s light goes out.
Dolphin Dive Center owner and master diver Tim Bridgham has a philosophy a lot of people can relate to: we spend much of our lives standing on our feet, sitting on our butts in chairs, or sleeping?so getting in the water can be a blissful alternative. As a full-service dive center, Dolphin Dive is a place where students and seasoned divers can get all their gear, as well as the knowledge to put it to good use. Beginners can splash into the heated, indoor pool to get the hang of breathing underwater during the try scuba course, while more seasoned divers and mermen in disguise can take the advanced open water class.
Enduring attention spans are rendered unnecessary at Fun Galaxy, where the staff oversees ample entertainment options in one huge facility. While smaller kids and toddlers tackle a multi-level playground packed with soft obstacles, their older siblings take a turn at roller-skating or exploring the indoor skate. A mechanical bull and more than 30 arcade games round out the attractions, which are also available for birthday-party packages.
A hush falls over the pews and all heads turn to see the bride step into the light as she glides down the aisle. The groom's face breaks into a huge grin, and guests can't help but smile themselves. For an instant, everyone in the room forgets that this couple is already married, and that no one in the room knows who they are. But, everyone agrees that the ceremony is beautiful. This is The NotWedding, a mock wedding in which on-trend wedding vendors display their talents to entice those planning their big day. Brides- and grooms-to-be are treated to an entire faux wedding, complete with ceremony, dinner, and dance reception. They spend dinner jotting down the names of the bakers who created the delectable wedding cake, the chefs who sizzled up the artfully plated meals, and the rental centers that provided the elegant table settings. Guests can also glean ideas for modern and hip decorations and wedding-planning advice, including tactful ways to tell their fianc?e's father to retire his ruffled periwinkle tuxedo.
On a remote farm in northeast Georgia, hundreds of people are lining up to slog through mud and scamper over obstacles for 5 kilometers. Some may say they’re crazy, and some may say they’re being pursued by a pack of hungry toddlers, but they’d both be wrong—these brave hundreds are athletes dashing through the MuckRun obstacle course.
Meandering through forests, swamps, and creeks, the 5K MuckRun course tests runners with obstacles such as mud slides, hay-bale pyramids, and a human spider web. At the conclusion of the race, an awards ceremony bestows prizes upon the victors, and live tunes and food nourish the ears and mouths of each contestant. Just like at an all-company meeting, there's also a prize for the person with the best costume. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.
The cast of Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” are a professionally reclusive bunch, brewing generations-old recipes in camouflaged stills beside their homes. Still, many beyond the hidden hills of Appalachia celebrate their traditions, and their product. The Moonshiner Festival gathers together some of the cast to meet their fans for three days of live music, barbecuing, camping, and, of course, drinking moonshine. Cast members in attendance include Mark Rogers and Jeff Waldroup, Lynn Waldroup and Lance Waldroup, and Mike Lewis and Bobby Tweedy. They dole out autographs and sit down to meals with the festival attendees, possibly even joining in to cut a rug to the musical stylings of the Smoking Guns or Hooch Holler.