The World Series of Comedy brings together a horde of more than 100 humorists from all over the country to compete for laughs and a grand prize of 37 weeks of work at comedy clubs across the nation. The competition gives audience members the pleasure of acting as judge and jury without the moral and legal gray areas of serving as executioner, allowing fans a say in which comics move on to the final showcase (panels composed of comedy bookers have the most influence in the judging process). Pick from 13 shows—three wild-card shows, eight preliminary shows, and two final rounds—each sporting a lineup of eight, 15, or, in the final showdown, three comics toiling for your approval. Call to reserve your tickets.
The history at Victoria Theatre stretches back to 1866, when the "Magnificent Edifice" was first built at First and Main Streets. Its halls have hosted entertainment luminaries of many eras, including Harry Houdini, Mark Twain, and Socrates during his I Know That I Know Nothing comeback tour. After becoming the victim of two fires (1869 and 1918) and a flood (1913), the theater avoided man-hurled wrecking balls in 1975 when it was named to the National Register of Historic Places, a list where the Italianate structure still resides well into the 21st century.
A freestanding climbing wall with craggy angles and multiple inclines steals the spotlight at Vandalia Recreation Center by soaring to 27 feet up the middle of an atrium. But climbing is far from the 58,000-square-foot center’s only attraction. Gravity-bound members burn calories at a fleet of cardio machines and build muscle with strength equipment and free weights in the fitness center, and a three-lane, 1/16-mile track helps runners train for catching the gingerbread man. At the Aquatic Center, a zero-depth entry pool welcomes swimmers who rack up laps and children who whoosh down a twisting waterslide and through a giant frog’s mouth or frolic in waterfalls. A vortex and bubble bench set the stage for aquatic fitness, useful for independent exercise or formal classes.
Aquatic aerobics sessions join plenty of other organized activities on the center’s bustling schedule of fitness classes. Students stretch during yoga, break a sweat to the Latin beats of Zumba, and pump their legs through spinning classes. While parents work up a sweat, their offspring head to childcare at Ricky’s Tiny Tikes (ages 6 months to 4 years) or Luther’s Jungle indoor playground. Here, children 4 and older clamber through the jungle-themed slides, tubes, and nets with the help of a bi-level play structure or polish their da Vinci forgeries with paper and crayons.