At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
Just 900 square feet. That was all the space the original American Top Team Aventura (ATT) had to work with when the team began training in Boca Raton. But despite the cramped quarters, the Mixed Martial Arts fighters excelled at their craft. Eventually, ATT upgraded a bit—the current location covers a massive 20,000 square feet, widely considered the largest Mixed Martial Arts facility in the state. And its Brazilian jujitsu, or BJJ, training program, available for both kids and adults, has gained such widespread acclaim that the academy's specific techniques now show up at academies across the country and the world. Beyond BJJ, American Top Team's seasoned instructors also teach muay thai kickboxing, boxing, cross-training, submission grappling, wrestling, and a kids program.
If the instructors at IK School of Gymnastics wore all of their awards—which, for Valentina Kevliyan, includes an Olympic silver medal—they probably wouldn't be able to move, much less teach. Thankfully, the only thing they bring to their classes is years of international experience. Having competed in rhythm gymnastics championships around the world, these coaches mentor children ages 3 and up in the graceful, yet demanding, art. Their courses are separated by age group and skill level, except for a Sunday camp that accommodates all students. During classes, they focus on the poise and flexibility necessary to perform striking choreography, complete with apparatuses such as balls and hoops.
The mad scientists behind The Challenge Mud Run spend their days playing with mud and surfing the Web for the ideal throwing axe. All that hard work will pay off when they host an intense 5-mile race that challenges the mind and body. During the race, entrants crawl through a dark, semisubmerged and smoke-filled tunnel, swing on monkey bars over a quicksand pit, answer a series of brain teasers, and of course crawl through mud while pretending to be the primordial life form that preceded the crocodile.
The two founders of Aquachild Swim School—Scott Launer and Brian Lilburn—came to embrace aquatic education through disparate means. When Scott took his then 2-year-old daughter, Jaya, to swim lessons, he was amazed to see 10-month-old babies floating on their own and began his journey to becoming a youth swim instructor. Brian, who nearly drowned in a backyard pool as a toddler, learned to love the water rather than fear it after his mom enrolled him in swim lessons. Scotty and Brian now share their life-saving knowledge alongside a staff of instructors that are all certified in water safety, first aid, and CPR.
Through Aquachild Swim School’s specially designed lessons, infants as young as 10 months learn to roll from facedown positions to back floats where they can breathe easily, and 1-year-old students begin to swim with their heads down, then twist onto their backs for air. As kids progress, they learn the four major strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly), brush up on the basics to keep them confident, or start snorkeling. The instructors lead adult lessons to help older students learn how to paddle at pool parties or triumphantly retrieve their boss’s golf ball from a green’s lagoon during corporate outings.
The intricately designed, European-style buildings that populate the Buenos Aires cityscape enchanted the eyes of Argentina native Cari Cohen at an early age, inspiring her to earn a degree in architecture from the University of Buenos Aires. Driven to push the boundaries of architectural innovation, Cari began delving into other creative media to expand her horizons, sparking a newfound fascination with abstract art and jewelry crafting. She has since moved to Miami, where her original paintings have been showcased at events such as Art Basel and Art Miami.
Cari founded The Fun Palette as a way to share her passion for the visual arts with kids and adults, hosting a variety of imagination-spurring classes for students of all skill and experience levels. During the studio's painting sessions, students can closely follow their instructor's step-by-step instructions to create flowing landscapes or abstract pieces or go off the beaten path to compose self-portraits that reimagine the painter as a bowl of fruit.