A gypsy rides through the crowd while standing upon two horses. Behind him follow more members of his troupe, who do back flips off their steeds and then regale spectators with fire breathing and juggling. Performed by the seventh-generation acrobats of Cavallo Equestrian Arts, this spectacle—called Ma'Ceo—often draws standing-room-only crowds every day during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. It's these kinds of glimpses into the Elizabethan era that fulfill the mission of bringing renaissance Europe to life. Turning the Kelley Farm into the Village of Merriwick, entertainers of all types, from courtiers to peasants, engage fairgoers with a range of acts. Flanked by her entourage, Queen Elizabeth travels through the streets, perhaps on her way to watch the jousters compete for her phone number, or perhaps to watch sprightly performers such as the Celtic fiddlers or the commedia troupe. Merchants peddle wares to passersby, talking up goods such as hand-forged weapons and armor, hand-tooled leather goods, and roasted turkey legs. Camel rides and bubble-filled buckets cater to kids, and adults can duck into two alehouses where quick-witted wenches pour draft microbrews and ciders. For guests who want to spend the whole weekend immersed in the renaissance festivities, organizers reserve a section of the grounds for tent and RV camping.
Backed by 30 total years of experience that includes teaching kayaking and selling equipment for REI, Barbara Gronseth shares her passion for the outdoors through Issaquah Paddle Sports. Profiled in the Issaquah Press, Barbara and her team—which includes husband George—rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and NuCanoe Kayaks to all ages of outdoorsmen. Since Issaquah Paddle Sports is located within Lake Sammamish State Park near Tibbetts Beach, its protected beach affords visitors a relaxed setting for launching into the lake.
Beyond supplying guests with equipment, Barbara's team also leads programs that range from guided tours to experiences designed exclusively for women and kids. Additionally, the staff arranges lessons in kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding through parent company Kayak Academy. Back at the clubhouse, attendants dispense replenishments such as Clif Bars, SmartWater, and caviar cupcakes.
Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating and tumbling down a total of nine rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
Sammamish Club billets myriad fitness-conscious facilities designed to engage all workout preferences. Each membership begins with an overview of the club's resources and secret passageways provided by one of Sammamish's certified trainers. Post-tour, jump into four weeks of physical freedom by participating in one of the club's many group-exercise classes. Experienced instructors banish calories and build stamina with three types of yoga, dance-based classes such as Latin-inspired Zumba and martial arts-infused Nia, and a host of cycling, step, and human cannonball lessons. The comprehensive group-exercise schedule allows guests to work-out seven days a week in the morning, afternoon, or evening, with the Kid's Club play zone for 3-month-olds to 6-year-olds taking care of any loose children.
Building mind-bending music on a foundation of ancient Japanese taiko drums, Ōn Ensemble merges a deep, hypnotic form of percussion with everything from turntable-ism to electronica to Tuvan throat singing—creating the unique world-fusion sound that has kept fans on their toes, when they're not levitating just off them. Wired magazine's Underwire blog said that Ōn's 2009 effort, Ume in the Middle, "should appeal equally to fusion aficionados and left-fielders in search of something stranger." Despite their dauntless exploration in the realms of the avant-garde, the Ōn Ensemble has gained the ultimate stamp of approval in classical Japanese culture—an endorsement from Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten, instrument maker to the emperor of Japan—ensuring that Ōn doesn't fall victim to the public shaming that has torn apart so many promising avant-garde Japanese percussionists.