Archery is more than a high-stakes game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. It's an art that requires a good eye and lots of practice, and Big Oak Archery provides the space and equipment necessary to perfect that art. The facility houses an archery range, which hosts target practice and archery leagues and tournaments. In addition, its pro shop stocks an inventory of Elite Archery bows along with various firearms.
In a style fitting with their sword-and-shield emblem, the King’s Crossing Vineyard & Winery’s yearly renaissance festival harks back to ye olden days with a weekend of days-of-yore-style entertainment. A Scottish band toots the soundtrack to the festivities as visitors hoist flagons of beer and wine and belly dancers enchant viewers with sultry undulations. With multiple opportunities for guests to demonstrate their feats of strength, the fest hosts an archery tournament and dueling matches fought with swords, maces, and enormous turkey legs. The afternoons are filled with informative demonstrations on renaissance life, performed by actors in full period dress.
Twelve years ago, Frank and Amy Faust bought a 6-acre plot of land in the Loess Hills countryside with the intention of building themselves a log cabin. Instead, they found themselves sidetracked by a new dream—starting a winery. At Sugar Clay Winery, the Fausts now produce up to 10,000 gallons of wine each year, yet, as they told KETV-7, they still take the time to cork each bottle by hand. Visitors can introduce themselves to 14 of Sugar Clay’s proprietary varietals in the tasting room, such as the sangria-esque Loess Hills blush or a four-grape ambrosia blanc whose flavors morph from apple to butterscotch and almond with each sip. Outside, shaded decks house guests peering out on views of sloping valleys soundtracked by a chorus of birds hiding among the surrounding cedars. A fire pit warms sippers during crisper nights or on afternoons when a tour group of refrigerators shows up, and live musicians fill the air with notes from dulcimers and acoustic guitars.
The masked chainsaw bearers and flesh-eating zombies may have earned Gateway of Chaos a top rating on Hauntworld.com for two-years running, but they don’t do it for the awards. The terrifying show––a combined effort of more than 50 volunteers—elicits screams to benefit the Malvern Area Betterment Association, a nonprofit working to better social, educational, and developmental growth in the Malvern community. Comprising thousands of square feet, the haunted house also affords local actors plenty of space in which to flex their menacing muscles, and past years have seen the haunted house changing nightly to keep repeat visitors and ghostly real-estate agents on their toes.
The brewers who keep Keg Creek Brewing Company afloat in fermented fare began as homebrewers. Though they now operate an entire company, their experimental, do-it-yourself philosophy remains the same. From mash tanks and fermentation vessels come the brewery's lifeblood, a lineup of expertly crafted beers that flow forth daily in the onsite tasting room. The brews include Wabash Wheat, a light-bodied wheat beer that honors the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, and Breakdown Brown Ale, a malty brew named after the communication breakdown that resulted in East Dakota’s statehood. As the seasons change, Keg Creek's brewmasters rotate their output with it, brewing beers both big and small to fit the weather.
Although it may be open for visitors year-round, the fall is when Union Orchard is at its most vibrant. Morning fog hangs low to the fields, depositing drops of condensation on the ripening apples; apple-cider donuts emerge from the fryer for a dusting in sugar; and tart ciders bring out the flavors of apple varieties grown onsite. A wagon trails behind a rumbling tractor, carting families through the trees and off the premises to perform ancient rituals in the pumpkin patch. The plot, now over a century old, also gives rise to the makings of fragrant wines, preserves, and fruit butters.