At Four Winds Renaissance Faire, historical accuracy is key, as talented actors and supervising staff present a bounty of Renaissance- and medieval-themed performance, music, and fare. Across the grounds, kings and queens strut over grass in opulent capes of purple, green, and gold. Minstrels cavort with their lyres, granting a background score to bright-eyed children as they play-duel to imitate nearby knights. The air fills with ancient Celtic tunes and modern-day laughter as jesters and a comedic swordplay troupe keeps attendees entertained. In one of the main events, six knights joust while clad in full armor, pitting their accuracy and endurance against targets, rings, and each other in five events.
Vendors who’ve travelled throughout the country populate the grounds with dunking booths, carriage rides, and eclectic crafts ranging from hand-hammered metal pieces to medieval weapons and witch-repellant. After perusing the wares, attendees might espy an onsite wedding, which fair staffers supply with menus, themed costumes, and period décor. Though primarily a showcase for living, breathing medieval and Renaissance history, the fair’s monthly events also extend to themes such as Celtic heritage, steampunk, and the American Wild West.
Oil Bowl Lanes opens its 32 lanes of rolling glory to pin pushers every day of the week. A one-hour lane rental pits quartets of players against one another to see who can garner the highest score based on pins felled and the secret 11th frame, which is judged on the overall style of post-strike moonwalks. Eight rental shoes lend their aid to earthbound extremities, and a full pitcher of soda bubbles with between-frame refreshment or postgame head-dunk opportunities. Spheres rumble down Oil Bowl’s alleys between retro-futuristic murals and cheery checkered floors.
The ridges and swales of Outlaw Golf Club’s recently renovated bentgrass greens get balls spinning and players cursing. These difficult patches of grass await golfers at the end of the nine-hole course’s bluegrass fairways, which undulate through the craggy terrain overlooking Jordanelle Lake. The course's bite doesn’t just come from elevation changes, though: three lakes and two streams tempt balls to take a dip, and the par 3 and 4 fairways demand frequent club changes by vacillating in length from 65 to 465 yards. Despite these challenges, novices can enjoy the course by choosing a more forgiving tee from the six that cluster in front of each fairway, including all-weather surface tees.
The club’s outdoor short-game-refining center invites players to practice their putting and chipping as they aim their balls up to 100 yards away. The center also serves as PGA Professional Dave DeSantis’s classroom, where he teaches players how to break free from sand traps without digging a hole they will eventually fall in.
Head Over Heels Fitness's owner, Julie, had a lifelong dream of being a dancer, but by the time she got around to taking lessons, the usual ballet, tap, and hip-hop techniques didn?t appeal to her anymore. She dove into pole-dancing fitness, and loved the adrenaline rush she got climbing and twirling around a pole. After a move left her without a nearby studio to practice in, Julie found herself missing the company of strong women during classes, so she opened her own studio. Now she spends her days teaching special pole classes that combine pole dancing, yoga, and other techniques to whip bodies into shape in a fun environment.
Longview Museum of Fine Arts seeks to expose the local community to art through its collection of more than 400 works including paintings, etchings, photographs, collages, and sculptures. The permanent collection primarily focuses on works from regional artists, and the museum's galleries also host traveling or temporary exhibits six times per year. Outside, visitors can tour a sculpture garden with rotating featured pieces.
The animal kingdom encompasses species from every continent on the planet. But Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari cuts down on the need for excessive travel by bringing an eclectic array of exotic species to the heart of East Texas. The 300-acre preserve houses 36 exotic and endangered species in open areas similar to their native habitats. This allows visitors to see these majestic creatures firsthand while driving along the miles of roads that weave throughout the preserve's hills and savannahs. Over the course of the self-guided tour, visitors will have the opportunity to spot animals such as an alligator, Canadian wood bison, Arabian camel, red kangaroo, zebra, and holographic dodo, all from the safety of their vehicle. In addition to providing one-of-a-kind wildlife photo ops, the preserve also allows groups to feed some of the animals by dropping food pellets onto the ground.