Competitors scale walls, slosh through trenches, and fall face-first into mud. They’re all racing against one another, but they share a single common goal—to Survive This Mud Race. The aptly named obstacle course spans 3–4 miles, facing racers with at least 15 challenges designed by former Recon marines and Ironman triathletes. The resulting network of mud-slicked ropes, tires, climbing walls, and pits leave challengers dirty, but proud. After they cross the finish line, they can show off their event T-shirts and medals as they tell gripping tales of conquering the obstacles over a beer at the after party.
Walking into Off the Wall, parents and kids probably notice very different things. The grown-up eye of an adult, for instance, might immediately spot the facility's lounge, complete with plush recliners, massage chairs, and a huge TV. Children, on the other hand, perceive a seemingly endless space—12,000 square feet, to be exact—in which to explore and play. While parents gravitate toward the lounge, youngsters set loose across Off the Wall's colorful landscape, which includes tunnels, slides, ball pits, bounce houses, and even an arcade.
Presented this year by sponsor Fotowerks Custom Photography, The Shelby Living Bridal Show amasses abundant seminars and demonstrations for brides-to-be choosing accouterments for their big day. Birmingham Bake & Cook Company suggests handy kitchen gadgets and cookware, while local wedding experts dispense advice on topics such as the shock of seeing your spouse brush his or her teeth for the first time. Kathy G. Mezrano of Kathy G. & Company emcees a one-hour fashion extravaganza cohosted by Bella Couture and Mr. Burch Formal Wear. In addition to exhibitions, discussions, and a collection of origami swans constructed out of gently used wedding napkins, The Shelby Living Bridal Show bestows a plethora of door prizes from local wedding professionals. Shelby Living is a monthly magazine that spans a spectrum of topics, including fitness ideas, shopping, and recipes trending in Shelby County.
Sips n Strokes gifts paintbrush-wielding neophytes the tools and confidence to create, with a mélange of masterpiece-making tutorials and a bring-your-own-beverage policy. Artists can elect a class from the shop's calendar to hone the painting style that best complements their home, office, or neighbor's windshield, including picks of imagery from Parisian scenes to funky roosters. Each course, led by an instructor well versed in the trade, pairs well with the liquid inspiration of each student's choosing. Silence-seeking artists or easily corruptible mimes may opt for an afternoon or weeknight session, as the weekends generally garner 20 to 50 rowdy rookies.
The 6th Annual Sloss Furnaces Stokin' The Fire BBQ and Music Festival is an all-amateur barbecue competition with a live soundtrack. Barbecue from more than 80 local teams will compete for the tummies of the populous in the People's Choice competition and for the taste buds of designated judges in various categories. Handcrafted, cast-iron trophies and prize money are bestowed on the best burner in each category. Live music from Wet Willie and Locust Fork on Friday and from Junior Brown on Saturday accompanies the sounds of sizzling sauces. All proceeds from the fest go toward the restoration and preservation of the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, host to a museum commemorating Birmingham's industrial past, a metal arts facility, and barbecue champions.
The 2.38-mile winding track at Barber Motorsports Park plays home to the three exhilarating races set to zoom amid early spring greenery on this fully charged Sunday. Claim a perch on the hillside-grass seating or pump frenetic fists in the grandstand-seating area for the Star Mazda series as it whisks its four-wheeled velocity carts past your rapt self, then take in the revved up Firestone Indy Lights Race where vrooming vehicle masters take the helm of launched earthships. The IZOD IndyCar Series Race boasts gargantuan names in the whipfast world, including Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Will Power, and Peregrine "I Don't Need This Helmet But It's Regulation" Falcon. Acceleration aficionados can rest their own speed-hungry motors in the free parking lot at Birmingham Race Course on John Rogers Drive, with convenient track shuttles available. Otherwise, fleetness fans can opt to pay an additional, purchased-in-advance charge for on-site parking at the Barber Motorsports Park.