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.
Warm in winter, cool in summer, and filled with amazing acts in every season, the Big Apple Circus's pair of Italian-made big tops contains the best of several generations' worth of circus traditions. A look at any show's cast finds a complex network of venerable European circus families passing the arts of juggling and trapeze artistry down through the years, while the tents' motors and seating make for a comfortably modern spectator experience.
You might never guess that the troupe started small in 1974, when American circus artists Paul Binder and Michael Christensen joined forces as a juggling act on the streets of Europe. They moved from streetlights to spotlights in a hurry, appearing on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque de Paris, before returning to the U.S. and creating their own not-for-profit circus in 1976 and raising their first tent in New York's Battery Park.
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.
Since its origins as a converted parking garage, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its auditoriums, even gaining a following among Hollywood legends; Quentin Tarantino has been known to host five-day movie marathons at Alamo. The theater has earned that reputation by making moviegoing a personal experience, from the menu of handcrafted snacks and locally brewed beer to the completely ad-free presentations before shows. Alamo?s ninja servers pick up written food and drink orders throughout the movie and serve moviegoers directly at their seat. The staff enforces a strict no-talking, no-texting policy by kicking out any offenders, falling just short of yanking them from their seats with a giant's shepherd's crook.
Both first-run blockbusters and classics are projected onto Alamo's silver screens in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Meanwhile, surround speakers immerse audiences in the cinematic soundscape, whether they're seated in one of the expansive theaters afforded to blockbuster reels or the more intimate spaces reserved for indie films wound around tiny bobbins. Despite Alamo's vow of silence, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and actors, directors, and other celebrities often attend special screenings to lead in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have led to acclaim for Alamo from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, which called it ?one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,? and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
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 two years 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.