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.
For decades, the city of Tacoma was the minor league home of MLB teams from across the country. It hosted affiliates of the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, and even the New York Yankees for one season. In 1995, the Seattle Mariners took over Tacoma's team and instantly inherited the long-time organizational name, the Rainiers. The alliance has seen much success over the years, including a Pacific Coast League championship in 2010, a title the club had to win on the road while Cheney Stadium was groggy from anesthesia as it endured drastic renovations.
Those renovations earned the facility a "2011 Renovation of the Year" award from Ballpark Digest. Once dubbed the "100-Day Wonder" thanks to its hasty construction before the 1960 season, Cheney Stadium features an iconic 75-foot wooden exterior façade. Inside, the stadium now boasts such modern amenities as luxury suites, a restaurant, and a grass berm along right field. Despite all the updates, though, the stadium has preserved its epic 29-foot tall batter's eye in centerfield, which sits a distant 425 feet—or, the equivalent of 5,437 sunflower seeds—from home plate.
Metronome Coffee's founders built their business around the idea of fresh coffee, tasty foods, and good music to sooth both cravings and consciences. They acquire their coffee through direct trade with farmers, each cup benefiting the people who did the hard work of growing it. They stock their pastry case with treats from local Corina Bakery and serve up hot pancakes made from scratch. They even squeeze their orange juice fresh. And they pair their food and drink with the tunes of local artists, helping customers discover new music.
Built in 1925, the Temple Theatre first served as a vaudeville venue, later becoming a host for road shows, burlesque, and movies. However, the theatre closed in 1965, and would be subjected to disrepair, vandalism, and skeleton xylophone recitals for more than 15 years. A 1981 restoration project returned the theatre to its former glory. Today, seated under the gilded chandelier and wooden trim, theatergoers lose themselves in the thoughtful dramas enacted upon the stage.
Set in Rosebud, a 19th-century mining town, Boom Town takes audiences 145 years back in time on a whimsical Old West adventure. World-class circus performers, including many drawn from the ranks of Cirque du Soleil, use mining equipment and other colorful props to execute a variety of stunts and maneuvers worthy of double, triple, and quadruple takes. The acrobatic action takes place within the fittingly historical walls of the venerable Pantages Theater, a former vaudeville venue and movie house. Before or after the show, head down the street to Pacific Grill, where chef/owner Gordon Naccarato oversees a menu rich in nautical delicacies such as weathervane scallops ($30) and turf-based tastes including grilled lamb T-bone chops ($32).