The Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College regularly rolls out cultural buffets of music and theater, commencing the holiday season with the sweeping harmonies of the Vienna Boys Choir. Founded in 1498 by Emperor Maximilian I to soothe the battle wounds of Tyrolean troops with show tunes, the Vienna choirboys are known the world over for their dulcet tones and crowd-pleasing repertoire. Guests drink in melodies from seats in the house's coveted Orchestra and Grand Tier 1 sections, as the boy wonders take the stage to intone time-tested holiday tunes, Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, medieval chants, and renditions of "The Farmer in the Dell." Prior to the concert at approximately 3 p.m. in the center's lobby, audience members can relish in a complimentary performance by the Danville Children's Choir.
The gourmands at Mermaids Bar and Bistro present a menu full of rich New American fare and southern-inspired cuisine against a cozy bistro backdrop replete with partially bricked walls and small, homey tables. Duos and quartets inaugurate feasts with starters including fried green tomatoes (an $8 value) and JR’s tempura cocktail (a $12 value)—jumbo shrimp flanked by sweet thai sauce and spicy wasabi. Popular entrees, such as the seared Atlantic salmon fillet (a $20 value) or the chorizo-anchored creole risotto (a $17 value) tastily exercise long-dormant mouth muscles and heirloom forks brought from home.
A rustle of wind whips through the dark forest rising up behind the deserted building, increasing the sense of foreboding that has settled over the clearing for much of the afternoon. The silence is broken by a bird’s shrill call from a distant tree and, as if on queue, a masked figure steps out from inside the weathered structure and aims his marker at his opponent hiding behind the small trailer in front of him. Suddenly finding herself splattered with vibrant purple paint, the targeted adversary takes off across the green field, firing off a polychromatic round of pellets in her wake.
Founded with the hopes of granting its guests the chance to experience adrenaline-laced interactions such as these, Band of Brother Paintball offers acres of play space for pigment-slinging snipers. Before sending patrons out for rounds of fast-paced play, the knowledgeable staff outfits them with an arsenal of rental equipment and paintballs. Once armed, shooters take to obstacle-laden fields, bobbing and weaving between metal cylinders as they try to create passable forgeries of Impressionist paintings on the backs of fellow combatants.
Beer Engine Microbrewery & Tap's resident beer buffs conjure signature batches of oat sodas that are brewed in-house. Sip on a quartet of samples from Beer Engine's five microbrews, which range from Freedom Ranger pale and King George's nut brown ale to Kirkner's amber––a quintessentially American brew made purely from waves of grain. Souvenir pint glasses hold aloft foamy fermentations such as virtue porter or czechvar, and half-gallon growlers allow sippers to tote their two favorite potables home and may be returned and refilled later for a fee of $11.
The Great American Dollhouse Museum houses hundreds of miniature buildings and citizens in a newly renovated 6,000-square-foot historical building, with high arched ceilings and an immense skylight. Curator Lori Kagan-Moore's vision for the museum is that each piece and scene be as authentic as possible. The exhibit begins with a timeline of U.S. history rendered in miniatures and moves to a village set in the early 1900s. The mini-land features a Shaker settlement, gypsy caravan, orphanage, and more, filled with characters wearing period-accurate clothing and interacting with period-accurate cell phones. The dollhouses are kind enough to leave their backs open so museum-goers can peek at the décor, dolls, and salivating grizzly bears. The museum concludes with a fantasy forest, complete with fairies, centaurs, and dragons.