The annual International Great Beer Expo
assembles more than 50 breweries from around the world at Long Island's Belmont Park Racetrack. Every attendee through the gates gets a 5-ounce souvenir tasting glass, which they can fill and refill with 2-ounce samples from any exhibiting brewery. Beers truly hail from all corners of the world, including Lebanon, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and New Zealand, in addition to places famed for their brews such as Ireland, Belgium, and Germany. But the event isn't all fun and games of bags; a portion of the proceeds benefits the Beer for Brains Foundation, which brings craft-beer lovers together to help find a cure for brain cancer.
The Kave Bar and Grill sets the mood with dim lights as patrons cozy into tall, tufted leather booths. The lounge features a full bar with an assortment of cocktails that cleanse palates between puffs of assorted hookahs scattered throughout. The hookahs boast numerous flavors that complement the menu's appetizers, which guests are encouraged to order by spelling them out in smoke rings. And they don't skimp on entertainment either. The Kave Bar and Grill sometimes holds events such as parties with DJs and dancing.
The Ice Lounge brings the night to life with live-music performances, DJ sets, and karaoke. Occasional themed nights, such as Tropical Thursday and Bingo Night, draw crowds into the lounge where bartenders serve up cocktails from behind a wooden bar while music blasts.
Ranked among Ticketmaster's Top 25 Most Requested Family Events for five consecutive years, UniverSoul Circus grants an interactive spectacle of acrobatic stunts, dance, and comedy set to popular urban sounds. With its swirling lights and pulsing beats, the circus's resemblance to a blowout concert tour is no accident: production designer Tom Marzullo has created internationally touring stage shows for Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, and Prince.
As hosts, a troupe of improv comics slip laughs in between the gasps and draw the crowd even closer into the action. Meanwhile, the production makes jaws drop farther with trained elephants, illusions featuring a live tiger, a head-balancing act from Vietnam, and female contortionists from Ethiopia. These make up just a few of the globally sourced performers, others of whom hail from locales as diverse as Colombia, South Africa, Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Since 1925, shrieks of delight have sounded from the pinnacle of Belmont Park's Giant Dipper Roller Coaster as it inches toward its 73-foot drop. Closer to the ground, the Vertical Plunge drops riders three stories, the Tilt-A-Whirl spins at a furious clip, and the carousel makes its leisurely rounds. Like the waves breaking on the shores of Mission Beach—located just steps from the park—sheet waves generated by FlowRider and FlowBarrel technology carry boarders across a wave pool's padded surface.
No waves find their way into Belmont Park's indoor swimming pool, the Plunge, where an artificial grass deck surrounding the shallow end hosts a bounce house and Slip ‘N Slide. An adjacent arcade returns players to civilization with new and old classics such as Guitar Hero and skeeball. In between rides and games, guests take breaks to snack at Belmont Park's myriad boardwalk eateries or browse the goods of nearby shops.
From the passenger seats of two 2012 Toyota Corollas, Access2Drive Driving School's English- and Spanish-speaking instructors dispense valuable advice about every aspect of four-wheeled transportation. During hands-on lessons, students of all ages take the wheel to practice parallel parking and find a parking space that's not in the middle of a monster-truck arena. Students satisfy the state's pre-licensing mandate with five-hour courses that span topics such as driving within the transportation system and developing appropriate habits and skills. Those who enroll in the school's defensive-driving course get 10% off on any insurance purchased in New York for a period of three years.