In 1950, a man named Ernest Ellis started a car wash in Grand Rapids. There were no motorized brushes or automated sprays back then; instead, cars would drive through the building as staffers positioned along the route used steam guns, wash tanks, and hand mitts to wipe away dirt and Dewey for President fliers from automotive exteriors. After a name change, a panoply of new locations, and many upgrades to what was often the most cutting-edge wash technology in the country, today's Southland Auto Wash maintains its high-tech approach to cleaning with automated wash tunnels, in-depth detailing, and luxurious extras including its own signature tire protectant. This passion for meticulous care, along with the wash's extensive water-conservation projects, earned the sudsatorium a nod as Grand Rapids Magazine's Best Car Wash for more than 14 years straight.
The staff at Tiki Tan supplies the environment for guests to acquire a deep, tawny hue any time of year. Three levels of tanning beds adjust to different skin tones, and a leg-specific bed ensures limbs stay dark even after shaving. The center also offers VersaSpa sunless tanning, which deepens complexions and moisturizes skin through an even coating of bronzing solutions and hydrating botanicals.
"We have no regular beds or level 1 or level 2 reflector beds. Tiki tan is different then any compatitor. We start off with a level 3 bed in all Tiki location's. This means beds with more wattage per lamps, reflector lamps, and some Tiki's ;eve; 3 include 3 facials.
The Muze's grill gurus satiate hungry hoards with a menu brimming with meaty sandwiches, flame-licked burgers, and colorful salads. Sheathe unwieldy swords and practice the way of the fork instead, pronging samurai-stir-fry ahi tuna that's coated in black-sesame crust and served with pineapple salsa ($7.65). Then saunter taste buds to one of the many unique burgers made with 100% Angus beef, such as the pretzel burger ($7.99), curry burger ($7.69), or the signature Muze burger, a half-pound slab of succulence bedecked with smoked gouda, haystack onions, and bacon ($7.89). The pistachio-chicken sandwich, unlike its blues-singing cousins Jimmy "Chicken Bone" Pita and Fowlin' Wolf Submarine, creates a joyous melody of flavor, culling pistachio breading and dijon-spinach aioli within a kaiser roll ($8.89). Chomp on the apple-hickory- smoked ribs for a barbecue infusion ($11.89 half, $16.99 full) or admire the talents of the feta-speckled, strawberry-pecan salad ($8.69), which gracefully coordinates an aquatic breakdance of veggies and nuts within a house strawberry-vinaigrette.
Though all the runners at the 5K Run/Walk Thru Sparta follow the same course—a flat USATF-certified path that starts and finishes in Balyeat Field and slices through downtown Sparta—there are three types of race they can run. Runners can compete seriously by registering in the Individual category; they can join the Run for Rides category to earn a T-shirt and three carnival-ride tickets for Town & Country Days; or if they're of age, they can Run for Beer to collect a T-shirt and two drink tickets for the Town & Country Days Beer Tent. Children 12 and younger can also sign up for a separate Kids Fun Run, which rewards registrants with three carnival-ride tickets and zero cursed goblets. After the race, the top three runners in each age group receive awards.
Part of Sparta’s Harvest on the Ridge festival, which celebrates the township’s colorful crop of fruits and vegetables, the Dirty Apple Obstacle Run sets challengers on a 2.5-mile quest through “applesauce” mud pits, defiantly unflipped tractor tires, hurdles, and other agility tests. Whether participants struggle individually, work together as a family, or construct a mud-proof robotic surrogate, the point of the event is friendly competition and general good times rather than time trials. Afterward, racers gather at the festival downtown, where kids might put together a puppet or two, adults can swap stories and sip Michigan brews, and the whole clan can soak up the classic rock of West Side Soul Surfers.