As the oldest historic tour on the national register, the German Village Society's Annual Haus und Garten Tour sends feet pattering across 233 acres of historic landmarks, enchanting gardens, and award-winning restorations. A year ago, the daylong celebration drew a total of more than 6,000 visitors, and this year, an even larger crowd is expected to be on hand to ogle and coax autographs from the 13 homes and gardens scheduled for display.
Tour-takers can meander along the route at their own pace, stopping to explore the shops and eateries in the marketplatz or to peek into classic abodes, which homeowners have transformed into chic, opulent spaces ideal for modern living or showcasing the latest trends in wool socks for coffee tables. In addition to the lineup of architectural stars, the tour will also be stocked with various live performances, including a rendition of The Scarlet Pimpernel in Schiller Park at 2 p.m.
In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams—comprised of at least two people—vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race–style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.
An unmistakable sight on the streets of Columbus, the Pedal Wagon is a pedal-powered party on the go, transporting up to 15 happy passengers all over town—and making plenty of stops at local watering holes. The High Street Shuffle cruises through Columbus's Short North in search of discounted drinks and new friends.
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Brady Konya and Ryan Lang aren't from Ohio, but they loved the area for its business-friendly community and rich natural resources, and decided Columbus was where they had to build their distillery. The duo's passion for the Midwest colors everything about Middle West Spirits, from the name down to the Ohio-grown soft red winter wheat in their whiskey and award-winning vodka, which they also infuse with honey and vanilla beans or stone fruit. Inside the distillery, which sprawls over 10,000 square feet of open air, Brady and Ryan craft these artisan OYO spirits—named after the original word for the Ohio River Valley, pronounced o-y-o_—in 600-liter pot-and-column stills. Hand-built onsite by German craftsmen using copper, stainless steel, and bits of Saturn's rings, these stills earned Middle West Spirits a place on _Popular Mechanics' 5 of the World's Most-High-Tech Distilleries list.