It's a charity race with a back story like none other: bloodthirsty demons have been working in your community's offices, living in its homes, attending its schools. And now they're on the hunt and people are running for their lives. Citizens might be booking it across a field, seemingly far from the chaos, when shapes emerge on the horizon dressed head-to-toe in vampires' telltale black clothes. If you're a citizen, be prepared to run. If you're a vampire—lock in your target.
That's just part of what you might experience on the Vampire 5K, a twilight fun run where participants can register as "citizens" or "vampires" and take off from two separate starting lines. Both camps eventually converge in a chase that finds vamps trying to convert their mortal counterparts to the dark side. Citizens, dressed in white, sport two garlic flags; if the flags are taken before runners cross their finish line, they switch to a black tee and chase citizens. After the race, a moonlit party finds both camps sipping bloody marys during a dance party and award presentation. The race benefits the Mission to Hear Foundation, which provides hearing aids to underprivileged children, adults, and whatever they're calling the age group that comes in between these days.
At DC Fencers Club (DCFC), head coach Janusz Smolenski leads a team of athletes that molds young fencers into champions. Thanks to his formidable pedagogy, he has trained U.S. national champions. Working with Coach Smolenski, a trio of coaches brings unique backgrounds and styles to the classes. Robert Suchorski was a Polish National Junior Champion and has trained under top Polish and Russian fencing masters, and Ilya Lobanenkov to his credit owns multiple top-eight finishes in Veteran Women's U.S. Nationals, multiple "A" ratings, and a top-16 finish in a U.S. Junior Men's epee circuit event.
The DCFC facility, which has produced two full-scholarship Notre Dame fencers, boasts 10 full-size electric strips on a sprung-wood floor where fencers can lunge, parry, and riposte for hours on end without incurring injury.
The team at Pottery n More eschews cookie-cutter designs in favor of rampant creativity. They help guests select plaster items including tableware and holiday-, garden-, or pet-themed figurines to be covered with a choice of 15 different glitters and easy-to-use acrylic paints. The studio hosts parties for kids and adults, and programs such as summer camps, parents' nights out, and home makeovers for bottled genies. In the new game room, children bounce on inflatables or play board games while watching cartoons.
Pyramid Atlantic is a non-profit contemporary arts center that promotes artistic excellence in the fields of hand-papermaking, printmaking, digital media, and bookmaking. Among impressive facilities and tools are an antique letterpress, materials for hand-binding books, and the art gallery, which has a new solo show each month and is DC’s source for fine art prints and artistic activities. Members enjoy once-a-month, hands-on tutorials (such as screen-printing, bookmaking, and paper UFO folding), once-a-month tours of the new exhibits with the director of the Washington Printmaker’s Gallery (which curates Pyramid Atlantic’s exhibits), 10% off at the community arts store in Silver Spring, and 10% off live music and theater events.
Supplying all materials, Art By The Glazz's artist-led painting sessions kindle creative talents during three-hour classes held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. New artists capture shapes and shadows inspired by a number of pastoral- or wine-themed templates, with step-by-step instruction from pigment professionals. The pigment-shy can embolden themselves with a drink from an onsite cash bar. Aprons protect against stray paint, wine drops, and the tears of fruit trapped in a beautiful but airless eternal present, although Art By The Glazz recommends wearing old clothes. Finished masterpieces chaperone each artist home, ready to be mounted on a wall or hung from the dining-room chandelier. The company also hosts corporate team-building events, small groups, and birthday parties, giving guests an enjoyable ice-breaking activity.
Built around Dr. Sankofa’s Life Path Development Model, Zen Academy helps children excel both academically and physically. Instead of hosting study hall sessions, their after-school tutoring programs introduce children to their future passions, such as aviation, martial arts, or tennis. Educators with real career experience lead students through basic and intermediate lessons that not only cover the subject at hand, but also strengthen math, self-discipline, and reading comprehension skills along the way. Learning about air currents flowing over wings enriches students’ understanding of science, and fine-tuning their back swing inspires increased activity, reducing parents’ fears that kids will wind up in a fast food joint working as a box of french fries.