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.
Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating and tumbling down a total of nine rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
When the staff at Charlie's Safari claims to have the largest indoor play structure in the area, many will find it hard to argue with them as they look around the 22,000-square-foot jungle-themed facility. Here, kids scamper in, on, and around five levels of brightly-colored mazes and slides, air-filled bouncers, and a two-story laser tag arena. As kids unleash their imaginations, parents escape to their own lodge, secure in the knowledge that their children are being protected by the facility's Code ADAM safety system. Families can refuel at the on-site restaurant, which boasts housemade pizza sauce and corn dog batter. Charlie's Safari also hosts parties to celebrate children turning one year older and one year closer to being able to do their parents' taxes.
Building mind-bending music on a foundation of ancient Japanese taiko drums, Ōn Ensemble merges a deep, hypnotic form of percussion with everything from turntable-ism to electronica to Tuvan throat singing—creating the unique world-fusion sound that has kept fans on their toes, when they're not levitating just off them. Wired magazine's Underwire blog said that Ōn's 2009 effort, Ume in the Middle, "should appeal equally to fusion aficionados and left-fielders in search of something stranger." Despite their dauntless exploration in the realms of the avant-garde, the Ōn Ensemble has gained the ultimate stamp of approval in classical Japanese culture—an endorsement from Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten, instrument maker to the emperor of Japan—ensuring that Ōn doesn't fall victim to the public shaming that has torn apart so many promising avant-garde Japanese percussionists.
Within the century-old confines of Uptown Glassworks' warehouse, furnaces melt handfuls of kaleidoscopic frit into malleable shapes manipulated by a team of professional glass blowers. But these tradesmen don't just create works for the gallery; they also share their secrets with students in a variety of activities, from introductory courses on making beads and paperweights to advanced instruction that can be applied toward college credit or used to fix the pockmarked walls of glass houses.
During the shop's Blow-Your-Own sessions, participants apply color to clear, molten glass that has recently emerged from a 2,000-degree furnace, then blow their mixture into 1 of 20 different shapes. The next day, patrons can pick up their cooled and packaged creations, comparing their handiwork to the gallery's collection of products, which are made by more than 90 local and regional glass artists.
For decades, the city of Tacoma was the minor league home of MLB teams from across the country. It hosted affiliates of the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, and even the New York Yankees for one season. In 1995, the Seattle Mariners took over Tacoma's team and instantly inherited the long-time organizational name, the Rainiers. The alliance has seen much success over the years, including a Pacific Coast League championship in 2010, a title the club had to win on the road while Cheney Stadium was groggy from anesthesia as it endured drastic renovations.
Those renovations earned the facility a "2011 Renovation of the Year" award from Ballpark Digest. Once dubbed the "100-Day Wonder" thanks to its hasty construction before the 1960 season, Cheney Stadium features an iconic 75-foot wooden exterior façade. Inside, the stadium now boasts such modern amenities as luxury suites, a restaurant, and a grass berm along right field. Despite all the updates, though, the stadium has preserved its epic 29-foot tall batter's eye in centerfield, which sits a distant 425 feet—or, the equivalent of 5,437 sunflower seeds—from home plate.