Uproarious cheers from the crowded stands compete with roaring engines zooming down Raceway Park's 1/4-mile banked asphalt track. Between April and September, weekly race events invite late-model, short-tracker, and mini stock cars to compete against one another in races that culminate in a final karaoke lap. Other festivities include Friday Night Destruction events, where motorcycles, trailers, and school buses put their axels to the test. Raceway Park also puts fans behind the wheels of real track cars during occasional racing-experience events.
Melding a flurry of powerful forehand chops, pinpoint pivoting, and sneaky backhand lobs, tennis is second only to competitive chainsaw sculpting as America’s favorite sport at which to grunt. Sponsored by the United States Tennis Association Northern Section, the Tennis Festival of the North features three days of events that include demos, clinics, an exhibition match, and jet-engine–powered tennis-ball launchers. Tennis fans and fanatics alike will enjoy an all-inclusive pass that includes access to Friday-evening demos and drills, Saturday and Sunday clinics, and general-admission seating to Saturday's exhibition. Tennis pros and experienced instructors lead informative sessions on topics such as Boomers and Beyond, Playing Tennis After 50, and Nutrition Hints for Winning Tennis, while attendees can also browse a vendor fair and an interactive fan zone. Additionally, Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Davenport and 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Navratilova will be present to talk tennis and cut up the court during an exhibition match.
The door of the limousine opens and flash bulbs burst in a thunderstorm of press and paparazzi. The crowd shoulders each other behind velvet ropes, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the diamond-studded star at the head of the red carpet. When the sea of people parts, a self-assured third-grader is revealed as she greets her fawning public.
Popcorn Media gives kids the chance to experience strutting down the red carpet during their Movie Star workshops and weeklong camps. Attendees soak up the secrets of screen acting from a director who works with Disney and Nickelodeon studios while producing their own unique work. They oversee each production element that goes into a film's creation, from lighting and filming to rehearsing and giving their parents an autograph. At the end of each session, kids attend a red-carpet premier of their work amid the applause of friends and family.
Inside the family-owned Jumps & Downs, youngsters aged 1–10 tumble into a capacious ball pit, 5,000 balls strong—one of the many attractions that pepper the 3,600-square-foot facility. The indoor play center’s inflatables encourage airborne activities, building kids' motor skills every time they leap in one of the bounce houses, dive down the giant plush slide, or climb up the obstacle course. Groups of kids unleash cake-fueled manias on the playscape during birthday parties that come complete with all manner of festive accoutrements, including a private room, paper goods, invitations, and a copyright lawyer to make sure no scofflaw children sing "Happy Birthday" for free.
At Golf USA of Eden Prairie, golf shoes and gear line the walls, and seemingly endless rows of clubs stand like soldiers at the ready. The shop's experienced staffers match golfers with the optimal equipment during personalized club fittings, and employ a computerized swing analysis to provide objective feedback. They can also re-grip or repair clubs bent from too much hacking at interfering pine trees.