Originally established and overseen by a committee of parents, Sip! McMinnville Wine & Food Classic began in 1994 as a small community fundraiser for St. James Catholic School. Today, the annual festival draws nearly 10,000 people to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, requiring more than 300 volunteers to assemble regional winemakers, culinary masters, and artists. Vintners disclose trade tips as they peddle their ambrosial libations, all of which are ultimately ranked by a panel of professional judges into bronze, silver, gold, and best-of-show tiers. Guests can take wine-tasting classes, which teach sippers how distinguish fruity undertones from a banana hiding in their glass, or glean cooking tips from kitchen demonstrations and food booths. Throughout the weekend-long gathering, artists display their opuses in the form of tangible wares or live music.
HydroSports Dive and Travel’s certified scuba instructors tap into their enthusiasm for all things aquatic to train nascent sea explorers with thorough diving instruction. The staff formulate a roster of classes that includes a wide range of lessons, from basic tutorials that introduce essential skills to advanced courses that yield open-water certification and the ability to recite Keats underwater.
In addition to classes, HydroSports' onsite shop packs an arsenal of equipment from top-quality brands and ample rental gear for self-arranged dives. HydroSports Dive and Travel’s trainers also organize frequent diving excursions amid marine wonderlands such as Palau, Santa Catalina Island, and Poseidon's living room.
At Adventures Unlimited, infants to 12-year-olds develop their love of learning through hands-on exploration in a safe environment, overseen by a team of first-aid- and CPR-certified caretakers. The center combines a park-like outdoor play area, ideal for aspiring tag-players and botanists alike, with an onsite trove of dress-up clothes to aid children as they become pirates or tiara-wearing pirates. Adventures Unlimited also fuels fun with snacks throughout the day, though children are responsible for bringing their own sack lunches.
Age-targeted activities abound throughout the year, with story time for infants and toddlers, after-school activities and transportation to local elementary schools for school-age children, and a pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds with semi-structured art, science, math, and language classes. A registered private kindergarten pampers 5-year-olds with attention before transitioning them seamlessly into local public schools. During the summer months, the center’s camp hinges on weekly themes that can transform participants into chefs or educate them on Oregon’s history of hiding gold in its rivers and children's ears.
Bronze Planet Tanning Studio boasts an expansive selection of tanning equipment, which is perhaps why Statesman Journal readers voted the salon Best of the Mid-Valley in 2011 and 2012. The spectrum of beds includes high-pressure models designed to minimize exposure to UVB rays, which, like swearing off swimming in hot lava, can lessen the chance of getting burned. Beyond UV beds, Bronze Planet also touts a trio of Mystic Tan MyMyst booths, with MagneTan technology that evenly coats skin with streak-free color; Skin rejuvenating red, yellow and blue light therapy helps make your skin look and feel beautiful; and hydro-massage beds that radiate warmth deep into muscles.
Staffed entirely by DMV–certified instructors, Oregon Driver Education Center has been filling potholes in the knowledge of novice and experienced drivers since 1987. The center's masters of the open road send teens and adults on the path to earning their driver's licenses and maintaining clean driving records with comprehensive DMV drive test prep courses and defense driving classes. With an intimate understanding of the unique challenges facing Oregonian motorists, ODEC also offers an Xtreme Driver Control course that focuses on navigating vehicles through rain, ice, and throngs of rabid snowmen. Additionally, the center's specialty courses teach precautionary practices to medically at-risk drivers.
Under the high ceilings of a warehouse dating back to the 1970s, the Salem Fencing Club team leads training sessions and competitions for its members and guests. A nonprofit organization, Salem Fencing Club aims to share the honor, chivalry, and respect integral to this historic sport with its community. To that end, they provide classes for various skill levels and organize children's day camps, filling them with lessons, crafts, games, and campfires, during which students are trained to fight the urge to toast marshmallows on their épées. Though the facility is decades old, the sparring space has been updated to include virtual scoring and overhead reel-less systems.