The 2.38-mile winding track at Barber Motorsports Park plays home to the three exhilarating races set to zoom amid early spring greenery on this fully charged Sunday. Claim a perch on the hillside-grass seating or pump frenetic fists in the grandstand-seating area for the Star Mazda series as it whisks its four-wheeled velocity carts past your rapt self, then take in the revved up Firestone Indy Lights Race where vrooming vehicle masters take the helm of launched earthships. The IZOD IndyCar Series Race boasts gargantuan names in the whipfast world, including Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti, Will Power, and Peregrine "I Don't Need This Helmet But It's Regulation" Falcon. Acceleration aficionados can rest their own speed-hungry motors in the free parking lot at Birmingham Race Course on John Rogers Drive, with convenient track shuttles available. Otherwise, fleetness fans can opt to pay an additional, purchased-in-advance charge for on-site parking at the Barber Motorsports Park.
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum showcases vintage bikes from 20 countries, which fill the massive showroom at the Barber Motorsports Park, with technicians constantly working to keep each of the museum's 1,300 bikes authentically maintained and road-ready. Additionally, technicians ensure the overall gallery represents the evolution of the motorcycle through the 20th and 21st centuries.
Who They Are
George Barber first explored his love of racing in the 1960s, behind the wheel of a Porsche. By 1988, he had begun collecting and restoring classic and vintage sports cars, and his acquisitions soon spilled into motorcycles. His fleet eventually became the Barber Collection and the defacto garage for his own vintage-motorcycle racing team. Today, Barber's Collection has become a full non-profit motorsports museum that has shared its pieces at exhibitions at the Guggenheim in Spain, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.
Every Monday night, the Alabama Training Institute & Pistol Range hosts a simulated tactical pistol match, inviting both beginner and experienced shooters to bring their pistols and revolvers to the indoor range. A sense of camaraderie permeates the evening, which is overseen by the staff safety experts. During this time, everyone works together to sharpen shooting techniques and safety skills, improving their scores from match to match. In addition to these events, the instructors teach NRA classes focused on pistols and personal safety.
Run by master picturemaker Jennifer Harwell, a self-taught painter popular for her angel series, jenniferharwellart's weekly classes help sprouting artists' talents grow and blossom. In a laid-back, relaxed setting, students unleash their furor artisticus upon a 16"x20" canvas while the swaddling wraps of a smock-frock protect their soft innards. Usually the gallery provides wine and snacks in addition to all the necessary artistic supplies. Students get to keep their magnum opus once their paint guns stop smoking.
During the week, the lot at The Drive-In sits vacant—but it's far from abandoned. A bit before the clock strikes 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, cars start to crowd into empty spots. The carloads of families and couples on date night are there for the feature, which usually includes one kid-friendly movie—think Planes—or one for grownups, such as Wolverine. Plus, audience members can munch on buckets of popcorn as films unfold.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.