Guided by 27 years of martial-arts experience, seventh-degree black belt Jason Griffin helps budding martial artists cultivate their skills with his team of certified Taekwondo instructors. Since 1996, they’ve helped students of all ages learn self-defense, compete in tournaments, and take pride in the practice of martial arts. The team’s dedication has paid off: In 2012, the [Jackson Free Press](http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2012/jan/25/best-of-jackson-2012- urban-living/) awarded them the title of Best Martial Arts Studio. In addition to taekwondo classes, the studio hosts birthday parties, boot camps, and more.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Celtic Heritage Society's CelticFest brings together traditional music, dance, art, and culture to Mississippians with live performances and special booths from local vendors. On Friday night, 15 acts will perform on five indoor and three outdoor stages from 7:00 p.m. through 12:00 a.m., reliving the Gaelic tradition of settling conflicts with a Battle of the Bands. Catch international acts including Scottish songwriter Brian McNeill or Irish pluckers The Fuchsia Band performing Celtic-style tunes from their native lands. Eclectic locals, Wild Irish Roots, will fuse traditional Celtic music with American staples such as bluegrass, rock, and star-spangled banners. Revelers can redeem their tickets for premium beers such as Guinness (5 tickets), domestic brews (4 tickets), or cool bottles of water (2 tickets).
A menagerie of feathered and furry guests greet visitors at Nichols-Boyd Pumpkin Patch, including Gretel the Swan, Tom the Turkey, and April the Zedonk (a cross between a zebra and a donkey). Guests nestle into the hay-lined beds of Big Red or Big Green for a tractor ride through the farm’s pumpkin-filled fields before stopping off for a sweet Dixie cup full of secret pumpkin juice. The pumpkin patch also offers face painting, a ride on Nick the Train, and a gift store with homemade pumpkin bread, peanut brittle, and Mississippi honey. Farm visitors can conclude their trip with an Odyssian amble through the corn maze, traveling in the daytime or moving at night armed with glow sticks and wood chips to feed to teething scarecrows.