The first running of the Potomac Hunt Races took place in 1952, and the event has been an annual tradition in Montgomery County ever since. The event celebrates steeplechase racing—a form of competition that originated in 18th-century Ireland, when riders would dash across uneven terrain and use towering church steeples as their beacons. Today, regular two- to four-mile tracks have become the battlegrounds for steeplechase events, and horses equipped with on-board GPS systems have made church steeples obsolete. Potomac Hunt Races carries on the tradition of this modern-day version of steeplechase racing, while implementing a tradition of its own: donating a portion of the proceeds from each year's event to charity.
At Lopez Studios, students can hone musical and acting abilities in a supportive environment that focuses on developing character, integrity, discipline, and service. Baby hams who've given stirring performances in school nurses’ offices and soccer games can learn to tame and temper their thespianship with a few one-on-one acting lessons, while the piano and voice programs will expose students to a wide range of musical styles, such as classical, jazz, pop, R & B, gospel, and post-chillwave woodcore bossa-nova. Lopez Studios' expertly trained staff follow set achievement guidelines and prepare students for higher achievement goals with attentive one-on-one instruction that can't be replicated with lessons via choppy web video conferencing or 19th-century telegraph. Additionally, voice and piano lessons use an effective Round the World Rotation Sequence teaching method that allows students to discover their individual interest through an eclectic musical curriculum.
The larger-than-life inflatables at Sport Bounce of Loudoun aren’t just manufactured in the United States—they’re also crafted from commercial-grade, lead-free vinyl. The staff here takes just as much responsibility for visitors’ safety as they do for their entertainment, and oversee cleanliness throughout the 10,000-square-foot space. The bright, open arena fills with children aged 18 months and older who glide down two giant inflatable slides, bound through bounce houses and obstacle courses, dunk on inflatable basketball hoops, and fend off inflatable train-robbers in a kid-powered train. Though some areas only accommodate children, adults are welcome to slide and bounce as they supervise their kids at play.
Fun events, such as pajama and birthday parties, are a staff specialty. During each birthday celebration, they perform all setup and cleanup and provide utensils, birthday candles, and a crown or tiara for the birthday child. Each guest leaves with a complimentary photo of all the partygoers gathered on Sport Bounce's signature oversized red inflatable chair.
The colorful walls of Bella Ballerina’s studio echo with the patter of little feet springing across the wood floors. Classes welcome tiny dancers aged 18 months to 10 years, with ballet barres only a couple of feet off the ground and story time at the beginning of each session. The teachers, all professional dancers with years of performing and teaching experience, lead their students through basic ballet moves while sprinkling in jazz and tap. In addition to the classes, Bella Ballerina also hosts birthday parties that combine the things kids love: cupcakes, ballet, goodie bags, and another day lived without meeting whatever lives under the bed.
As summer turns to fall, the 200-year-old Nightmare Manor opens its doors to scare-seeking guests. Inside, actors portraying the spirits of the Manor's former residents who died in a tragic fire frighten explorers with detailed scenes and special effects as they transverse a series of rooms and surrounding property that would strike fear into the heart of any human, whether dead or undead. In addition to this macabre attraction, Nightmare Manor also houses an outdoor theater, bungee run, and bonfire.
Since 1971, Maryland Youth Ballet's team of trained instructors has helped both amateur dancers and aspiring Baryshnikovs hone their skills with a range of comprehensive classes. True beginners can begin their swan transformations during the introductory series, which covers fundamental barre exercises and promotes proper alignment, molting, and musicality. More experienced students can drop into one of the studio's ongoing sessions that range from jazz- and Broadway-style routines to Horton-based modern movement. Adult classes are open to ages 13 and older, and all participants must bring their own ballet flats or oversize bunny slippers.