For one week in June, myriad designers, performances, and burgeoning styles descend on Huntsville in a flurry of fashion sponsored by Alabama Fashion Alliance. Local businesses such as Le Jeune House of Fashion & Design and designers from New York team up with cherry-picked models that don sought-after frocks to strut their stuff for transfixed audience members and clothes-obsessed cocktail napkins. Hair shows, awards, and clothing competitions cascade across the packed schedule, and the finale runway fashion show completes the festivities like the perfect clutch completes an ensemble.
During the week, the lot at The Drive-In sits vacant—but it's far from abandoned. A bit before the clock strikes 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, cars start to crowd into empty spots. The carloads of families and couples on date night are there for the feature, which usually includes one kid-friendly movie—think Planes—or one for grownups, such as Wolverine. Plus, audience members can munch on buckets of popcorn as films unfold.
280 feet per second. That's the speed limit at Central Alabama Paintball. Although some paintball guns are capable of catapulting pellets at much higher speeds, staff here check each gun's speed to ensure a safe, fun, and comfortable experience for every player. They also require that everyone use the field's own paintballs, specially formatted to splatter at lower impacts—without staining clothes, which is especially helpful at paintball weddings.
Refs at Central Alabama Paintball are paid professionals who brief every player on rules and equipment operation. To ensure fair play, they also group paintballers by skill level. The staging area's sound system announces whether each game is for beginner, intermediate, or advanced players, and solo players can join a team matched to their ability level.
With safety firmly in place, the fun can begin. The round starts, and paintballs soar over one of five outdoor fields with obstacles such as wooden spools and giant inflatables, or the full mock-town field. It's common to see birthday parties, family reunions, and other celebrations darting around the field. In addition to amenities such as a large covered deck, a grill and fire pit, and setups for cornhole and horseshoes, the field boasts lower-impact guns suitable for players as young as age 6.
At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.
In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.
Heritage Golf continues the tradition of the Scots with a par 71 scenic course nestled between stately mountains in Blount County. Invite a friend or friend-sized golf club on an 18-hole excursion aboard a friendly golf cart to tackle the course's flat terrain and 113-slope rating. Open fairways offer views of the North Alabama countryside while multiple natural creeks interact with play and occasionally produce mermen willing to caddie in return for a single lock of human hair. Golfers of any skill level can find a challenge putting on bentgrass greens and driving over Bermuda fairways before retiring to the full-service grill, where hot and cold comestibles are available for purchase. Denim is asked to remain on the ranch, but collared shirts are welcome, provided pants accompany them.
Sporting the largest cast-iron statue in the world—a 56-foot, 100,000-pound statue of Vulcan, Roman god of the forge—Vulcan Park and Museum also boasts panoramic views of the city and eye-opening lessons on Birmingham's geology and industrial history. Assembled from local metal in 1904 and erected at the World’s Fair in St. Louis the same year, Vulcan was then shipped back to Birmingham. In 2003, after successfully defending the city from the Kraken, the Colossus of the Deep South was painstakingly moved to its current Red Mountain roost. Inside the museum, a multitude of interactive exhibits regale visitors with tales of the town and Vulcan's storied past, from its World's Fair beginnings to its failed hip-hop career. An elevator ride to Vulcan Park's 124-foot-high observation deck splashes dazzling snapshots of the teeming wildlife in the urban jungle below.