Sip- and bite-size samples tempt visitors to the first-ever Tennessee Food and Wine Festival as they meander past more than 100 exhibitors’ booths. Guests nosh on fare from local eateries such as Alfresco Pasta’s small-batch, traditionally made pastas, which can be dipped in a Ron Reed’s mason jar of preservative-free barbecue sauce or turned into macaroni portraits of Martin Van Buren. At the wine tasting, adult attendees can also savor a range of fermented grape juices from central Tennessee’s award-winning Beans Creek Winery or the Italian-style, Bacchus-impersonating libations of Hillside Winery.
The Zone gets hearts racing, blood pumping, and faces beaming with fun and challenging fitness programs for kids and adults. Offspring can work toward their dream of joining the circus during cheer and tumbling classes, where students meet weekly to explore acrobatic moves in a thrilling, controlled environment ($60/month, $60 enrollment fee). Once school's out, The Zone kids' summer camp treats rambunctious ankle-biters from kindergarten through 8th grade to 11 hours a day of sports, tumbling, and dance ($110/week, $60 enrollment fee, summer contract required). The camp provides a nearly endless array of activities, including weekly field trips and study time with certified teachers, to ensure little ones' brain muscles don't erode into Xbox-playing jelly over the long summer.
BCFC Bounce Parties infuses birthday parties with fun with its collection of bouncy castles available for rent at home or in its own party center. Its inventory boasts all shapes and sizes, ranging from bounce houses suitable for use inside rooms or garages to huge backyard-filling castles. Aside from bounce rooms, its party center also features pony rides and a carnival teacup ride.
Since 2010, Haunted Knoxville Ghost Tours has been spooking customers during investigation-based ghost tours. Excursions are personally led by owner J. Adam Smith, who has been featured as an expert on Paranormal Paparazzi and has investigated paranormal activity for over a decade, taking tour-goers to local haunts on public or private tours that, depending on the tour, traverse graveyards, Gay Street Bridge, and an old Confederate jail. Participants may reach out and connect with the spirits who committed a three-way homicide or the ghosts of hanged men at the actual locations of paranormal activity. Tours take guests on investigations with trained paranormal professionals to locations known for their traumatic histories. Participants are given professional tools to measure paranormal activity.
Water churns under the circular red paddles of a massive, wooden wheel, and, as dusk falls, the green shoreline slowly waves goodbye. Strings of bright holiday lights shimmer on two wooden decks, reflecting in the water’s darkening surface. The moon looks on.
On both evening and day cruises, Tennessee Riverboat Company’s captains steer the Star of Knoxville and its passengers past the river’s shoreline foliage. Buffet-style meals and an ever-changing lineup of live entertainment captivate guests without forcing them to bunk with prop comedians. Seasoned captains pilot their ships through calm waters, pointing out spots of interest while passengers lounge in air-conditioned or heated interiors. Participants may also take to the dance floor as decks fill with gospel or country tunes on themed music cruises, where performers encourage participation to help expose stowaway Dolly Partons.
Larry Schmittou, a renowned minor-league coach, executive, and overall baseball legend, traded diamonds for lanes to become president and co-owner of Strike & Spare Family Entertainment. Bowlers, gamers, and bar-goers can convene at locations across four states, each booming with the thundering sound of balls clashing against pins and confused children tap-dancing down the alley. The center is open 365 days per year, with lights and music enticing adults into the bar for a drink or snack, all while the arcade’s bells and whistles distract young ones until the lanes close. A bowling-rewards card incentivizes trips to the alley with credits for future purchases.