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.
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.
Jumpin Jack & Jill fills its 2,500-square-foot floor with a medley of tot-friendly attractions anchored by three plush inflatables. The three bounce houses form a cushiony community in one corner of the floor, replete with a slide, an enclosed shelter for carefree jumping, and a tunnel for clandestine exchanges of action-figure hostages. An area reserved for toddlers facilitates more placid play with a simpler climbing toy that includes a slide and pirate ship. The space also encompasses an arcade area, a foosball table, and a vending machine for mid-play replenishment. As kids buzz through the fun center like juice-box-charged particles, parents can relax in the glow of a flat-panel TV, harness the waves of the complimentary wireless network or enjoy espresso and handmade Italian soda drinks. Jumpin Jack & Jill shutters its doors for private party packages and rents out bounce houses for at-home celebrations in customers' own yards.
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.