Chocolate lovers unite at the Northwest Chocolate Festival, an annual event dedicated not just to eating chocolate in its many forms, but to tracking its journey from cocoa bean to confection. Visitors hone their expertise through seminars on trade equity and cocoa farming, chocolate-making workshops led by confectioners, and tastings where palates learn to distinguish between milk chocolate and a chocolate bar clumsily forced inside a milk jug. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefits local nonprofits aligned with the festival?s mission. Recipients are announced yearly.
Something strange happens as soon someone steps through the gates outside of Camlann Medieval Village. The past seven centuries of human existence instantly disappear, and that same person?who once existed in a world of smart phones and talking fire hydrants?now finds his or herself in living history museum of the medieval era. A narrow street winds through a rural village, where villagers make their artisanal goods in full view.
Another attraction inside Camlann Medieval Village is The Bors Hede Inne Restaurant, which keeps its doors open year-round. An innkeeper greets guests and welcomes them into the dining room, which is usually warmed by a roaring fireplace. There, glasses of mead accompany rotating monthly entrees made using authentic recipes right out of the 14th century.
A gypsy rides through the crowd while standing upon two horses. Behind him follow more members of his troupe, who do back flips off their steeds and then regale spectators with fire breathing and juggling. Performed by the seventh-generation acrobats of Cavallo Equestrian Arts, this spectacle—called Ma'Ceo—often draws standing-room-only crowds every day during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. It's these kinds of glimpses into the Elizabethan era that fulfill the mission of bringing renaissance Europe to life. Turning the Kelley Farm into the Village of Merriwick, entertainers of all types, from courtiers to peasants, engage fairgoers with a range of acts. Flanked by her entourage, Queen Elizabeth travels through the streets, perhaps on her way to watch the jousters compete for her phone number, or perhaps to watch sprightly performers such as the Celtic fiddlers or the commedia troupe. Merchants peddle wares to passersby, talking up goods such as hand-forged weapons and armor, hand-tooled leather goods, and roasted turkey legs. Camel rides and bubble-filled buckets cater to kids, and adults can duck into two alehouses where quick-witted wenches pour draft microbrews and ciders. For guests who want to spend the whole weekend immersed in the renaissance festivities, organizers reserve a section of the grounds for tent and RV camping.
Emerald Downs possesses all the beauty, glory, and betting that occurs at America's classic horse tracks. Jockeys ride thundering horses toward victory as families picnic on the manicured grounds or view the action from grandstand seats or tables at The Rainier Restaurant. Yet there's more to do than watch and wager. Every Saturday, facility managers conduct free tours of the stables during the races. They can also point visitors toward The Gift Horse, a shop in which to pick up equestrian related souvenirs.
The group formerly known as Musicians Emeritus Symphony Orchestra haven't changed their mission—they've just dropped a few syllables. Under their new moniker, they continue to tunefully bow, blare and percuss their way through polished programs that celebrate the joy of performing. Music Director Anna Edwards leads the musicians—who range in age from teenagers to nonagenarians—as they sonically tear into timeless pieces and new compositions alike.
Big cities have a wealth of entertainment, but the options can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, the founders of Festivals Inc. have established several events that gather the Seattle region’s diverse food, drink, and music all in one place. Their flagship shindig, Groupon Bite of Seattle, attracts over 400,000 people with healthy appetites to try cuisine from more than 60 eateries alongside craft beers and live bands. During the fall, Oktoberfest Northwest and Oktoberfest Monroe celebrate the German beer festival, while the Taste of Tacoma rings in the last weekend of June with culinary offerings from its titular city.