The course itself carries on that fun vibe, too. Winding through city streets and local parks, the 5K route is dotted with hydration stations that dole out hot chocolate. Holiday music, a giant Santa inflatable, and snow blowers help to set
Located just southwest of Green Lake, Big Kahuna Fun Park enchants guests with indoor and outdoor attractions including an outdoor miniature-golf course, where balls somersault down steep, faux-grass corridors packed with tricky breaks. Kids and adults can satisfy needs for speed at the go-kart track, and a slower-paced power-wheels course lets younger drivers prepare for the grown-up traffic jams looming in their futures. Guests can splash away the summer heat by ramming their inner tubes into other circular vessels at the bumper-tubes pool or take refuge from the sun in the park's indoor arcade, which also houses a Subway sandwich shop.
Tucked away in a grove of towering red and white pine trees, the Character Challenge Course pits teams of patrons against a series of obstacles, fostering confidence, teamwork, and communication skills. A collection of low-ropes activities challenges teams with trust falls, games, and role-playing exercises while remaining a short distance from the ground. High-ropes challenges, meanwhile, soar to heights of up to 35 feet, and include cloud-scraping ladders, wobbly bridges, and the Leap of Faith, in which patrons must scale a 25-foot pole and then leap to a trapeze bar five feet away before lowering themselves earthward. To further facilitate team unity, groups gather after completing each obstacle to discuss how the course's mental and physical trials can be applied to daily struggles in cooperating with others at work or while opening a pickle jar.
When woodcarver Kim Bredeson crafted a mantel for an employee of the Robert Mondavi Winery, he received a bottle of Opus One as thanks. For Kim and his wife, Tami, the bottle uncorked a five-year fascination with wine that culminated in the Bredeson's purchase of Carlos Creek Winery. On grounds surrounded by five lakes—Ida, L'Homme Dieux, Miltona, Darling and Carlos—the Bredeson's plant unorthodox grape varieties such as King of the North and Petite Pearl, all of which can withstand temperatures 30 degrees and below. Those grapes eventually yield Carlos Creek Winery's award-winning wines, including the riesling-like Wobegon White and the pinot noir-inspired Marquette, a triple gold medal winner at the sixth annual Mid-American Wine Competition.
As Kim leads tours of the vineyards and complementary tours through Carlos Creek Winery's indoor production area and wine cellar, the staff distributes samples and souvenir tasting glasses in the tasting room. Guests can tap their toes to year-round live music every weekend or explore the winery's expansive grounds, which include bike trails, a 3.5-acre maze, and a giant garden chess set, ideal for convincing Bobby Fischer he's shrinking. Every third weekend of September, Kim and Tami amp up the festivities with their Grape Stomp and Fall Festival, where visitors can stomp grapes, admire blown glass and chainsaw carvings, and laugh along to live comedy shows.
Held at rugged landscapes throughout the country, HARD CHARGE's races drench participants in mud, water, and sweat as they test their own strength, agility, and stamina against a series of tough obstacles. From the kickoff of the first heat, individuals and co-ed teams launch off to storm 30 challenges, which include crossing swift steams with no bridge but a single rope, navigating forests of hanging tires, scaling towers of hay bales and sand, and clambering over vertical cargo nets.
Competitors are separated into two levels, Charge for Fun and Charge for Glory. In the former level, racers navigate the course at their own pace, while the latter chargers athletes to go all-out for a chance to appear in HARD CHARGE's upcoming televised series. In these heats, marshals watch over each obstacle, ensuring competitors successfully complete it without the help of guardian angels. However they complete the test, all participants gather to celebrate their personal achievement at a post-race party featuring music, food, and complimentary beer.
In celebration of its hearty, handcrafted wines, Glacial Ridge Winery hosts the Annual Grape Stomp amid the five acre apple orchard on its grounds. Duos can flash VIP sipping passports valid for express check-in to receive a pair of personal wine glasses, and saunter up to tasting stations throughout the grounds, where they may each sample 12 of the winery's specialty flavors, including the denim-overalls varietal. Crafted on-site, these wines range from the complex and smoky Green Lake Girl cabernet and the Sippin' From a Slipper white wine—a silver medal winner at the 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition—to the sweet Jimmy Appleseed apple wine, which is concocted from a blend of five apples plucked from the on-site apple orchard. In addition to the tasting, the Grape Stomp hosts live music and a grape-stomping contest in which participants team up to plod through buckets of future wine.