Founded in 1989 as a roadside produce stand, the family-owned Schwallier?s Country Basket has since expanded into a full-grown farm market filled with autumnal attractions. Clues based around an annual theme are hidden within the corn maze, which guests of all ages navigate under the watchful eye of safety enforcers. Upon emerging from the labyrinth, visitors can pedal down the tricycle path, tour the grounds on a guided wagon ride, or greet a baby goat at the animal barn. A gated kids area also entices youngsters with attractions such as duck races and a straw mountain swarmed with prospectors trying to spin it into gold.
Elsewhere, raspberries, pumpkins, and more than 15 varieties of apples await picking in the farm's fields and patches. An onsite store also stocks various fall goodies, such as apple cider, indian corn, and homemade pies alongside crafts, toys, and fall-themed decorations.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable visitors to fortify their physical well-being with a cornucopia of advanced fitness equipment and certified personal trainers. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man or one of his many secretaries tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength-training gear or top-of-the-line cardio machines, which feature televisions and other media diversions. A friendly, unintimidating atmosphere provides a refreshing change of pace from aloof gym employees and ear-splitting pump-up jams. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling.
In addition to entertaining ears with live music, Cellar Brewing Company's dedicated staff fills glasses with libations fresh from its microbrewery, winery, and artisan distillery. The restaurant's plush, leather sofas sit beneath its rust-hued ceiling, and at a blond-wood bar, bartenders serve house brews and signature cocktails, mixed with their top-shelf liquors. A glass of stout awakens taste buds craving a darker brew, and the cellar's servers pluck bottles of Michigan Apple Delight wine directly from in-house wine trees.
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.
In 1996, a group of golfers formed a membership program that offers deeply discounted greens fees at a network of affiliated golf courses in West Michigan. The program is PGAC, and the result provides two-for-one greens fees at more than 28 courses and special discount rates at more than 11 courses. After reserving tee times any day of the week, golfers can load up their clubs and spare mannequin legs to test their skills on the challenging designs of renowned regional courses such as The Highlands, Lynx, Macatawa Legends, and Diamond Springs. Along with saving golfers up to $7,500 and helping local courses increase their waterways? diet of golf balls, PGAC hosts fundraisers for local schools and organizations.
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.