Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
The Fightin Phils have served as the Double-A affiliate for the Philadelphia Phillies since 1967, forging the longest-running affiliate partnership in baseball, not counting the ancient business relationship between groundskeepers and chalk purveyors. Many Phillies stars have matriculated through the Fightin Phils clubhouse and made contributions to the Phillies' World Series wins in 1980 and 2008. The Phils have also enjoyed their own share of sandlot glory, seizing Eastern League titles in 1968, 1973, 1995, and 2001.
Built in 1951, the team's stadium, FirstEnergy Stadium, serves as the oldest home field in the Eastern League. Along with a lineup of characters featuring a frog, dog, and bear, the Fightin Phils' mascots include a pair of live ostriches and the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor?a striped-vested madman astride his faithful ostrich Rodrigo, who runs around the infield as the Vendor throws souvenirs into the stands.
The Sovereign Performing Arts Center has been a part of Reading since 1870, and has played many roles in that time. Built as a market, with a Masonic Temple on the upper floors and a bird university on the roof, it soon became the Academy of Music. Then, in 1917, the Rajah Shriners purchased the facility and turned it into a venue for vaudeville, motion pictures, and live appearances, laying the foundation for its current incarnation. Decades later, the Berks County Convention Center Authority purchased the Rajah Theater and treated it to a $7 million renovation, including a new air-conditioning system and more comfortable seating.
The Zombie Mud Run finally gives people an incentive to exercise—the survival of their species. Amid forested trails, muddy creeks, and challenging obstacles, participants of this post-apocalyptic 5K face off to either save the human race or feast on human flesh, respectively. Clad in a flag-football belt with three flags that represent their brains, heart, and entrails, human participants race to get themselves and their fellow living athletes to the Green Zone, which grants salvation in the form of food, water, music, and beer. Meanwhile, costumed zombies—each of whom are either slow-moving “creepers” or fast-moving “leapers”—positioned along the race course pursue the humans to devour their organs or simply return that contact lens they dropped a mile ago. Human runners who reach the Green Zone with at least one of their flags survive.