For one week in June, myriad designers, performances, and burgeoning styles descend on Huntsville in a flurry of fashion sponsored by Alabama Fashion Alliance. Local businesses such as Le Jeune House of Fashion & Design and designers from New York team up with cherry-picked models that don sought-after frocks to strut their stuff for transfixed audience members and clothes-obsessed cocktail napkins. Hair shows, awards, and clothing competitions cascade across the packed schedule, and the finale runway fashion show completes the festivities like the perfect clutch completes an ensemble.
Tennessee Skydiving, LLC, which is one of the closest skydiving schools to Nashville, boats a squadron of crack skydiving instructors that are more daring than most. Riding alongside clients in their spacious and speedy turbo-charged plane, the instructors strap themselves to jumpers for tandem jumps at the standard height of 10,500 feet, which provides 45 seconds of free fall. Sometimes, though, they urge the pilot to climb higher—up to 18,000 feet—for jumps they call “extreme tandem”. At this height, divers need oxygen tanks to breathe, but the risks are well worth the reward—a lengthier, 90-second free fall at face-stretching speeds of up to 120 mph. Even at such intense speeds, adventurers have no need to fear because Tennessee Skydiving is Department of Defense certified with most of their instructors being ex-military.
The expert staff at Phoenix Paintball Division oversees multiple fields sprawling across 30 acres of paintball action. A woods field cloaks artistic assassins with trees and bunkers, and a tire-and-hay field conceals teams as they rally together toward victory. As in marital disputes between pro athletes, trained referees strictly enforce all rules, making safety the top priority at Phoenix. The pro shop rents and sells all necessary equipment, accessories, and apparel, as well as food and drinks to keep players fueled during friendly outings, group events, or special occasions, such as birthday parties.
At Riviera Fitness Centers of Madison—a women-only fitness haven—patrons tackle Les Mills group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and one-on-one personal training, all designed to make gals feel comfortable as they forge toward their fitness goals. The onsite childcare staff supervises tykes so moms can cartwheel off to classes such as BodyAttack and Zumba. During Zumba classes, the studio transforms into a club-like dance-party atmosphere, accented with colored lights and thumping Latin-inspired beats. The instructors lead the easy-to-follow dance steps on an elevated stage, allowing everyone to see the right moves instead of getting discouraged and reverting to the Hokey Pokey. Boot-camp sessions fuse cardio and resistance training to tone physiques as campers wield exercise equipment including kettlebells, barbells, and bosu balls.
In addition to getting fit during group training, ladies can seek one-on-one fitness advice during personal training sessions, which are tailored to suit their goals. Riviera Fitness Center also offers tanning, bronzing recently toned bodies for the beach or flexing in front of a mirror.
The Matrix Gym sports an 8,000-square-foot facility, a staff of knowledgeable athletes, and monitored 24-hour access to assist exercisers of all ages and abilities, day or night. Equipped with the latest heart-strengthening, muscle-toning machines from popular brands such as LifeFitness, Hammerstrength, and Cybex, this extensive fitness center bears everything one needs to lose weight, strengthen the core, and avoid bench pressing the cat for 30 days. Runners and walkers will enjoy cardio machines equipped with individual cable TV tops, USB ports, and iPod jacks for access to entertainment, downloadable workout summaries, and adrenaline pumping playlists of Celtic sea shanties, while group fitness classes provide motivation in the form of fun, energetic camaraderie. Although not included in this Groupon, The Matrix Gym also offers PlayCare for children under the age of 13 (a $20 fee) to relieve parents of offspring surveillance duties long enough to work up a healthy swelter.
Whether training to become professional dancers or exploring ballet as a hobby, students at Huntsville Ballet School hone their craft under the guidance of seasoned dance experts. Artistic director Phillip Otto taught master classes in ballet at Yale and Vassar College, and school director Rachel Butler danced and taught across the world in places like China, Australia, and Turkey. The school operates in tandem with the Huntsville Ballet, giving dancers an opportunity to audition for performances alongside the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Former students have gone on to study at prestigious dance schools across the nation, while others have become mirror models for bedroom danceoffs.