Humans and canines come together for the University Commons 5K-9, a morning event brimming with races and parades in support of pet charities throughout Gainesville. The day commences with an 8 a.m. onsite registration, followed by a breakfast feast supplied by Mi Apa Latin Café, then a 5K (3.1-mile) race at 9 a.m. Participants can accompany their own pooches or bask in the general air of flying fur for a one-mile pup run and dog parade at 10 a.m., promptly segueing into the 10:30 a.m. awards and pet superlatives ceremony. From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., a pet expo coincides with the racing and parading festivities, assembling professionals who preside over veterinary clinics, dog daycare centers, pet spas, and canine finishing schools to teach dogs proper annunciation.
Dave Bee, the owner of Schwinn Shop, was practically born on the bicycle saddle—two of his uncles own cycling dealerships, and he remembers being able to ride before he could even walk. His first set of wheels, a 1968 Schwinn Pixie, now hangs on the store's wall, along with wooden-wheeled bikes and quirky items ranging from a Pee-Wee Herman doll collection to turn-of-the-century skis. Bee calls his enterprise a "museum of sorts," a testament to the freedom of spirit one can only discover from behind the handlebars. Indeed, the store's bevy of new and used bicycles entices potential owners to trade in their gas-guzzling horses and set out for new adventures. From the modern Schwinn designs to an assortment of Giant mountain bikes, cruisers, and single-speed commuters, Schwinn Shop's inventory offers options to suit any riding style. For current owners, the full-service repair shop can cure any ailment, from misaligned wheels to graying tassels, and Bee and his team of cycling technicians can customize frames with colorful tires or parts and accessories from Shimano, Origin-8, and Odyssey. The staff also rent out hybrid bikes for leisurely rides around Gainesville, catering to customers unwilling to endure the sleepless nights of ringing bells associated with bike ownership.
It’s common for people to explain that one has to crack some eggs to make an omelet, but less so to say that one has to stomp some grapes to make wine. Though unrecognized as an aphorism, the process is celebrated at 2013 Grape Stompin' Wine Festival, where attendees get the chance to unleash their wrath on the unfortunate fruit, all between tastings and activities. Throughout the day, guests embark on tours of downtown restaurants and bistros to sample pairings of wines, craft beers, and food. A silent auction encourages clandestine bidding wars, while local vendors peddle arts, crafts, food, and oversized novelty foam feet.
During the Superhero Scramble, racers of all fitness levels tear across arduous terrain littered with body- and mind-challenging obstacles. Participants must wade through mud and, to reach the finish line, persevere through a barrage of Super Slime generously donated by retired Ghostbusters.
Upon completing the race, athletes ride their endorphin high into a party stocked with ice-cold beer. There, they can mingle with other contestants, sway to live music, and see awards doled out to the fastest runners in each age bracket. Male and female Scramble Gamble contestants compete for a cash prize that can cover the cost of replacing the engines in their sneakers. The benefits of the race extend beyond the Gamble winners, too—the organizers donate 5% of each registration fee to charity.
One of Florida's oldest community theaters, The Gainesville Community Playhouse has generated quality plays and musicals since its initial 1927 performance while assembling talented, local volunteer casts and crews. Adapted from the beloved 1983 classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story chronicles Ralphie Parker's humorous efforts to convince his reluctant parents to gift him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Recently relocated to the 210-seat Vam York Theater, The Gainesville Community Theater harnesses its facilities to enchant audiences with entertaining plays and staged readings of cereal-box nutritional information each season.
Founded by Chief Master William Clark, Karate America is a popular martial-arts school that believes martial arts can make people happier and healthier. With locations around Florida, Karate America is staffed by highly trained instructors teaching children and adults the self-defense moves of tae kwon do, krav maga, and kickboxing. While training in a team-like atmosphere in each of these classes, members learn self-discipline and respect, gain lean muscle, and burn calories.
At Skate Station Funworks, joyful chatter emanates from a bevy of attractions that equip players with go-karts, golf clubs, or roller skates. The 800-foot-long go-kart track stretches beneath 22 gas-powered carts that zoom around the turns in blurs of neon color, and the Swamp Golf mini-golf course lets club swingers romp through pirate-themed marshy scenery and greens without the hassle of timeshare-selling parrots. Arcade-goers shoot hoops or man the wheel at racing consoles as skaters glide over the surface of a wood-floored rink with the grace of a tutu-clad hovercraft. Elsewhere, mountaineers attempt to conquer the heights of a rock wall in three consecutive tries, and six fully automated batting cages pitch baseballs and softballs at three speed levels. A three-level play zone delights sprouts ages 10 and younger, and laser-tag opponents take a break from playfully zapping each other to visit Wally’s Café to refuel.