A gypsy rides through the crowd while standing upon two horses. Behind him follow more members of his troupe, who do back flips off their steeds and then regale spectators with fire breathing and juggling. Performed by the seventh-generation acrobats of Cavallo Equestrian Arts, this spectacle—called Ma'Ceo—often draws standing-room-only crowds every day during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. It's these kinds of glimpses into the Elizabethan era that fulfill the mission of bringing renaissance Europe to life. Turning the Kelley Farm into the Village of Merriwick, entertainers of all types, from courtiers to peasants, engage fairgoers with a range of acts. Flanked by her entourage, Queen Elizabeth travels through the streets, perhaps on her way to watch the jousters compete for her phone number, or perhaps to watch sprightly performers such as the Celtic fiddlers or the commedia troupe. Merchants peddle wares to passersby, talking up goods such as hand-forged weapons and armor, hand-tooled leather goods, and roasted turkey legs. Camel rides and bubble-filled buckets cater to kids, and adults can duck into two alehouses where quick-witted wenches pour draft microbrews and ciders. For guests who want to spend the whole weekend immersed in the renaissance festivities, organizers reserve a section of the grounds for tent and RV camping.
Pro Music Academy's founder, Chad Chapin, was fresh off a five-year tour as a percussionist and guitar player for Ben Folds when he returned home. He was greeted by his 2-year-old daughter, who promptly said “Thanks, Daddy, for coming over.” The statement tugged at Chapin’s heartstrings and he had a revelation: that he could spend more time with his family by practicing music right in Nashville. He called on other professional musicians to form an elite group of instructors, and thus, Pro Music Academy was born. During 30-minute lessons, instructors known for touring with recording juggernauts such as Sheryl Crow, Madonna, Casting Crowns, Carrie Underwood, Toby Mac, and many more teach pupils how to master vocals, song writing, instruments, and how to squeeze a tuba into the driver's seat of a tour bus.
Owner and black-belt Donna Middendorf of Sumner Taekwondo Academy leads a team of instructors who share their expertise in Korean hand-to-hand combat with kids and adults. And while the classes spend time with the more martial aspects of the art, they're really not about fighting. For Donna and the team, Taekwondo promotes peace through learning self-respect and gaining confidence—it's the heart of the discipline. At the same time, the instructors help students hone their punching and kicking skills and they engage with their peers in safe, supervised sparring sessions and fully-padded staring contests.
Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run is a unique and challenging event, pairing an obstacle-heavy running course and an attempt at breaking the record for the world?s longest mud pit with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. Those prepared to race must dance through tires, army-crawl through mud, and clamber up rope ladders to avoid barrels thrown by giant apes. The roar of spectators rings throughout the course as bystanders cheer on runners to inspire strong finishes.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing With the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.