The 17 acres inside the Michigan Renaissance Festival? don't obey the rules of the outside world. Instead, they bring the 16th century back in vivid tapestry-color?and though the celebration only lasts a few short weeks, the festival has been a beloved local tradition for more than three decades, drawing more than 250,000 people each year.
Step through the gates, and explore recreated Renaissance-era buildings including stables and a castle. Nearby shops host more than 300 artisans, selling wares such as metal sculptures or lavish costumes. Tavern owners roast turkey legs over open flames, while entertainers continuously weave throughout the streets and perform on 17 themed stages. Comedy, music, and full-contact jousting unfolds to the delight of the crowd, which may even include Queen Elizabeth herself, assuming she remembers where she put her horse keys.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats.
####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Disney's Daytime Emmy Award–winning Imagination Movers will perform their In a Big Warehouse concert in the grand interior of the Lisner Auditorium, playing their most popular songs and bringing the magic of their eponymous TV series to life. The popular New Orleans–based rock band bridges all generation gaps with fun and educational songs chock-full of memorable melodies and bounding rhythms that adults love as much as kids, fueling long van drives and kindergarten karaoke. With an extravagant set and ecstatic energy, the Imagination Movers give a performance that gets audiences dancing, clapping, and singing along, with guest appearances from Playhouse Disney favorites Choo Choo Soul, Nina, and Warehouse Mouse.
One of many vaudeville and movie palaces that sprung up in the 1920s, the Warner Theatre today drops jaws in much the same way it did in its infancy: with glittering chandeliers, gilded ceilings, and red-felt seats. Yet before transforming into its modern incarnation, it served as a film-only venue with such luxuries as a rooftop garden and a ballroom in the basement. The Warner even had a dance troupe akin to the Rockettes?called the Roxyettes?who would high-kick before and after the screen lit up.
After falling into disarray in the '70s, the Warner became a concert venue, saving it from the wrecking ball but forcing it to require a complete renovation in 1989 to remove years of grime and stray musical notes lodged between seat cushions. At the reopening gala, a host of stars performed, including Frank Sinatra in what would prove to be his last DC show.
You could argue that, as a self-proclaimed gastropub specializing in "burgers, bands, and bourbon," Bar 145 is not quite a cozy bar and not quite an upscale restaurant. Or, you could say that it offers the best of both worlds. The menu appeals to refined and socially responsible palates alike with local produce.
The line between fine dining and casual is further blurred when the waiter arrives at your table wearing red Chuck Taylor tennis shoes and holding a build-your-own burger atop, of all things, white china. Even the name Bar 145 is a hybrid: the first portion points to its hefty beer and bourbon reserves, and the 145 refers not to an address or the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a truffle french fry, but to the ideal temperature of a medium-rare burger.
The label-defying hot spot is also known for its live music, tuning up acoustic sets, dueling pianos, and full bands from Ohio and across the country six nights a week. Bar 145's musical roots run as deep as those of its chef, Robby Lucas, who once cooked dinner for Metallica after its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, according to the Toledo City Paper. The space itself leaves plenty of room for air-guitar solos at the 50-seat, oval-shaped bar on the outdoor patio.
Field of Dreams Drive-In Theater offers communal, car-friendly film gazing as well as prefeature entertainment. At the Liberty Center location, around 250 vehicles sidle up next to each other to take in double features rain or shine, and the newly renovated Tiffin location can accommodate up to 500 sedans, stretch station wagons, and highway-ready riding lawnmowers. The flickering glow of Hollywood blockbusters joins forces with the twinkling stars overhead to illuminate clear, cloudless nights, helping to direct hungry movie goers to and from the full-service concession stand, and light the way for made-to-order pizzas delivered straight to each car’s drivers side door.
In addition to its first-run films, Field of Dreams features free, family-friendly games including corn hole toss, ladder golf, and putt-putt golf. Four-legged family members can also watch from the safety of a leash or their very own car seat, and portable coolers and grills are permitted on the grounds with the purchase of a $4 outside-food permit.