Sharon Owens lowers the bulb of an ornament into the sharp blue flame of her workstation’s torch, heating the glass until it glows a vibrant yellow. Applying the skills she learned in her schooling at Purdue University, her three-year apprenticeship, and her studies with a host of artisan glassworkers, she presses her mouth to the piece’s hollow stem. Whatever shape it will take, only she knows.
This scene has been a regular occurrence at Inspired Fire since 2002, when Sharon founded her studio in her hometown of Lafayette. The workshop is equipped for all manners of projects, including 4 kilns, 12 torches, and, most importantly, air conditioning. The shop’s staff oversees classes for beginners and advanced glassworkers, as well as offering the space for crafters unable to find the “glass” setting on their microwaves.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the NHRA’s top pedal grinders compete for the checkers as Lucas Oil Raceway hosts the high-octane conclusion to this year’s NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, one of drag racing’s most prestigious events. The ghosts of former Model-T drivers race alongside novice and veteran speed demons such as champion Larry Dixon as they try to secure enough points to propel their teams into the Countdown playoffs and Full Throttle championships. The legendary track lives up to its reputation for smoothness as cars glide towards the finish line like sticks of butter on a bunny slope.
Midwesterners itching to snap on a mask and breathe through a mouthpiece have had few options ever since cruel Mr. Shabberham next door filled his poorly guarded swimming pool with earwigs and paste. Today's deal scratches that itch while sparing you the respiratory distress of cornfield snorkeling: for $20, you get a one-hour class for either Discover Snorkeling or Discover Scuba (a $50 value) at Midwest Scuba Center, an educational dive center that's been serving the area since 1976, that unfortunate year when the shores of the Atlantic permanently receded from the coast of Indiana. Anyone can take the snorkeling class, but scuba divers must be at least 15 years old (or as young as 10 years if a parent or guardian takes the class, as well). Call Midwest Scuba Center to schedule your discovery session.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fit seekers challenge themselves on cardio and strength machines and hoist free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or bop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
Energetic music pumps bodies into motion on treadmills, stationary bicycles, and elliptical trainers. Meanwhile, patrons heave dumbbells and heft weighted balls. And in the group fitness studio, classes punch and kick their way through high-intensity kickboxing routines or breathe steadily as they bend into yoga poses. Such scenes play out daily at each of Better Bodies' three locations. In addition to group training, the gyms also offer one-on-one training from personal trainers with years of experience in the fitness industry, including former Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mike McGuire. The trainers also boast masters degrees in fitness-related disciplines, including physical therapy and flaming bowling-pin juggling.