In its nine years as a professional theater company, the Maples Repertory Theatre has expanded its production schedule from three to six full-scale shows, as well as staging occasional cabaret concerts. "No one really expects a town the size of Macon to support professional theatre," says Artistic Director Todd Davison. "We are proving that great theatre is valued by people even if they don't live in a metropolitan area." The company produces its shows at the historic Royal Theatre, named because of the moat that once encircled the VIP seats. Built in 1889, the intimate, 400-seat venue was originally an opera house and underwent an extensive renovation in the 1990s.
When a school of music also contains a live-performance venue, it’s an indicator that the lessons stick. Such is the case with the Columbia Academy of Music, where private practice rooms sit just steps from The Bridge, a club accustomed to welcoming musical talent from down the street and around the country. A stage within range of instruction can inspire even the most stage-frightened students to step into the spotlight, where they’ll get the hands-on, feet-on stage experience that renders books worthless.
The academy’s tuneful staffers are no strangers to this kind of public performance—some instructors have shared the stage with the likes of Chuck Berry, Sting, and Hank Williams III—but many also are experts in what goes on behind the music. In lessons tailored for all ages, skill sets, and music-making manners, the school strengthens the confidence of budding musicians in once-a-week sessions. Instrument instruction infuses students with techniques across a range of musical genres; audio-production and engineering courses teach students how to make solid records and tolerate most singers’ misguided requests for more Steak-Umms in the monitor.
At Valley Speedway, locals gather around the racetrack to watch ULMA late models, Show Me Vintage racers, A-mod cars, and street-stock vehicles compete in open-wheel racing. Races take place on Friday and Saturday evenings and, unlike most parent-teacher conferences, welcome family members of all ages. After gates open, fans can nab eats and drinks before they settle into their seats. Those who prefer a more hands-on approach to high velocities can also register as a driver or take classes at the speedway.
At Sideshow, people dance to music from DJs and live acts, sip from glasses filled with one of more than 20 beers, and play games such as pool. Sideshow's daily specials fuel merrymaking and include such deals as the Saturday Friction dance party, with $5 A.B.C. doubles and $4 long island iced teas, $2 Tuesdays, a celebration of the traditional start of weekend with $2 well drinks and domestic bottles, and Ladies' Night on Wednesdays. Twist and wheel across the open dance floor to a wide variety of DJs and live musical guests, with upcoming performers including gypsy rockers Vagabond Swing on December 1 and the indie group Scouts on December 9. Guests reserve relaxing time-outs in the VIP Blue Ribbon Room lounge, or challenge each other's ability to clobber shiny spheroids at one of the pool tables.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 2?4 hours
Pro Tip: Shooting can be safe, just follow the safety rules and have fun
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Two courses: a beginner's course and main
Recommended Age Group: All ages
Situated on the bluffs above the Missouri River, the setting of the two self-service courses that make up River Hills Sporting Clays offer more than just a game. Its visitors take in the sights of the rolling meadows and wooded valleys on the park-like property as they proceed at their own pace. Three difficulty settings provide a challenge for everyone from beginners to those who want to tackle a tournament-grade course, for which the staff runs regular checks to ensure that the traps are working and full.
Something happens at Nash Vegas during the weekend. People start to tap their toes, as new bands take the stage and fill the bar with sounds of country music. At some point, patrons can no longer resist the urge to hit the dance floor and boogie like Johnny Cash used to when no one was looking. Events like these unfold at 9 p.m. each and every weekend, though that's not the only time the sounds of honky tonk fill the bar. Nash Vegas has been known to host weekday events as well, such as a Tuesday Night Tequila Jam complete with specials on beer and shots. The bar also serves pizza, and patrons can play pool when not cheering on live bands.