Like a pumpkin sprouting from a field, the Country Pumpkins fall festival grew from a relatively small thing. In 2000, the Colson family began selling pumpkins on the side of the road, trusting passersby to leave their payments in a simple honesty box. The customers came through, helping the small venture grow eventually into an annual event with rides, crafts, and mazes.
Today, the festival—held at the Colson's family farm, Alpine Hills Dairy Farm—features everything from tractor-drawn hayrides snaking through the land to a farm-animal petting zoo and corn maze. The straw maze continues the outdoor family fun and a barrel train ride for kids 13 and under in the crisp autumn air, leaves nearby scarecrows dreaming of careers as conductors. With a variety of pumpkins for sale, families can seek out the idea pumpkin to carve or roast.
The exuberant energy of childhood led many youthful explorers to climb their first tree, but the staff of EarthJoy Tree Adventures turned it into a lifetime pursuit. During safety-conscious lessons, instructors combine the rope-assisted techniques of rock-climbing with a few tree-specific tricks honed over lots of practice. They scurry up the trunks of old, vibrant trees, swing, surf and hang amid the branches, and rappel down. They teach students how to bring gear up with them during a climb and string a hammock between branches. Such hammocks provide a restful retreat from the world below—even a place to pass the night as humanity’s ancient ape-like ancestors must have: nestled among the high bows of a tree, waiting for a flash of lightning so they could read a few more words in their book.
With more than 15 locations nationwide, Wine and Canvas commissions accomplished artists to spread the joy of painting during informal painting classes. These talented brush wielders guide students of all abilities through a landscape, portrait, or abstract artwork via step-by-step instructions. Though each Wine and Canvas location is home to an art studio, the classes are taught in students’ living rooms or at local hot spots—many of which mix up tasty drink specials during classes. Instructors provide their artists-in-training with all the supplies they need to create eye-catching masterpieces, from paints and canvases to Ouija boards with a direct line to van Gogh. Though adult painting classes are Wine and Canvas’s bread and butter, they also help little ones unleash their creativity and satisfy their sweet tooth with Cookies and Canvas classes.
The Ritz Ballroom Dance Studio's instructors understand that dancers learn in stages, which is why they utilize the popular Medalist system, where students work toward specific goals at each level. Dancers begin at an introductory stage, where they learn the basic steps of ballroom dances such as the Viennese waltz, foxtrot, and cha-cha, and Latin styles such as bolero or salsa dancing. From there, dancers increase their awareness of each movement, progressing from slow and somewhat unsure to consciously confident?striving to let the dance flow through them without thinking about each step or wondering if Fred Astaire ever tried the worm.
Private lessons give students one-on-one practice time with instructors who move at a customized pace. Students then progress to group classes where they learn to dance with a variety of partners and pick up good dance habits, such as never biting their dancemate's nails. Scheduled dance parties create a relaxed, casual setting for further practice in the studio, which bathes dancers in a dreamy atmosphere complete with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, honey-hued wood floors, and the glittery twinkles of a disco ball.
Led by _Golf Range_’s Top 50 Golf Instructor Ralph Landrum, World of Golf’s staff of game-improvement gurus help players lower their golf scores with an array of golf-related activities. Private lessons conducted inside a climate-controlled swing room allow students to launch golf balls out onto the range while four cameras capture bad habits such as flat takeaways or saying “um” too much during their follow-through. Afterward, players can use their instructor’s pointers to build muscle memory on the rest of the complex’s practice facilities, which include an outdoor range with 24 mat tees and two sets of grass tees, indoor hitting nets with eight stalls, and an indoor putting and chipping green.
As soon as golfers feel they’ve practiced enough, they put their newfound knowledge to the test on the executive 18-hole golf course, with 14 par 3s and four par 4s, or the miniature golf course. When weather renders either course unplayable, thwackers move indoors to the golf simulator, which recreates the look and feel of more than 50 courses or a hodgepodge of 18 famous holes but without the extremely long between-hole travel times. World of Golf keeps a busy schedule of lessons, classes, and leagues, all of which can be found on the calendar.
Many symphony orchestras take themselves very seriously. And while Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is consummately professional, they also regale audiences with unconventional performances that may involve silent films, comedians, country bands, and Civil War–battle reenactments, a formula that has worked for the past 21 seasons.