Typically, bubbles are associated with getting something clean?they remove stains from clothes, or lift dirt from elbows. But at Bubble Palooza, bubbles experience a bit of an identity crisis. Here, relieved of their duty as degunkers and loaded up with non-toxic color, they help transform a three-mile route into a vibrant, foam-filled wonderland. Along that route, and oftentimes buried beneath bubbles, participants clad in white run, walk, and skip their way from one end of the course to the other. In the process, those same participants are blasted by a bubbly rainbow of foam, becoming magnets for the greens, blues, and other colors carried by a seemingly endless deluge of bubbles. After the event, the color-saturated participants gather to celebrate at the Bubble Bash, where they listen to music, dance, and attempt to lure an untamed bubble into coming home as their pet.
The 2014 Fitness Fusion Expo is put on by the ThYck Troupe organization, a nonprofit performing-arts company that creates performance opportunities for women with curves. Today, ThYck Troupe has gained the support of Secretary of State Jesse White and Governor Pat Quinn in its mission to enrich the Chicago arts community.
In addition to mentoring young women and promoting size acceptance, the troupe produces an original web series, organizes fashion shows, and showcases performers in theatrical and musical productions. With the Thyck and Fit Initiative, they broadcast a message of health as well as confidence, giving full-figured women and men the tools they need to achieve good exercise and nutrition habits at any size.
Runners embarking on the Honky Tonk Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K won't need headphones to hear twangy country tunes. That’s because the hilly Wisconsin Dells course features live bands and DJs along the route to keep participants energized as they race toward the finish line. The party-like atmosphere doesn’t end with the race, as a full-blown celebration complete with food, beer, and line dancing awaits runners and their family and friends. Aside from age-group awards for the top three males and females in each race, finish-line gifts include a Honky Tonk cowboy hat and goodie bag for all participants, a finisher-medal buckle for marathoners and half marathoners, and an ice bath for those who decided to pogo stick the entire 26.2 miles. The Honky Tonk marathon and half-marathon course is USA Track & Field certified and is also a Boston Marathon qualifier.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
Halloween's tricks and treats meet heartwarming altruism as the McHenry Police Officers Association unveils the first annual Running Scared 5K for Special Olympics Illinois. The fun run—which also doubles as a fun walk, stroll, or lollygag if the participants choose—sends costumed friends and families on a trek from scenic Shamrock Farms Park through the subdivision of Legends Lake. Along the paved trail, racers can admire, giggle, and gasp at the array of swaying Halloween apparel before crossing the finish line. All proceeds go directly to Special Olympics Illinois, which enables athletes with disabilities to train and compete in sports events.