Located near I-75 at 11315 N. 46th St., the annual fair (now in its 32nd year) features 20 entertainment stages, plenty of food options, and a host of vendors in the merchant marketplace. Shop for old-fashioned wares including leather, metal, and musical instruments, or gorge on traditional turkey drumsticks, ye olde foot-long corn dogs, and roasted corn. This year's festival marks the introduction of the Medieval Monster Museum, where guests will come face to face with fairies, trolls, and vampires while marveling at archaic creature-fighting weaponry. Prolong merriment for an additional fee at the Pirates' Feast, offering a three-course meal and live entertainment, or head to the Royal Smoker for an early-evening, adults-only soirees with snacks, cigars, sips, belly dancing, limericks, comedy, and sounds.
Since 1989, master fishing guide Eli Rico has spent more than 250 days of the year traveling through various states to ensure his clients have the best opportunity to hook their desired catch. This full-time captain is so dedicated to the hunt that he fully customizes each charter based on the client's needs. During his Florida charters, he navigates towards optimal spots to catch the 200+ fish that call the Tampa Bay their home, including tarpon, snook, and red fish, as well as the vast undersea populations of the Gulf of Mexico.
In Washington, he specializes in salmon, steelhead, trout, and sturgeon charters, leading fellow anglers along the river and lake systems as well as out onto Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula and cleaning their catches before they bring them home.
"We've got more canoes, kayaks and SUPs than fingers and toes to count them," Captain Wendy explains. "Also, two sailboats, eleven pontoons––all rentable. The funny thing is, this business came from a big accident." She's referring to the company’s inception in 2002, when a devastating hurricane led a friend to sign his company’s single sailboat over to Wendy and her husband, Bruce. "We were in marketing––then, suddenly, we were in boating." More than 12 years later, Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals has flourished under the duo’s stewardship. The company now performs 200 weddings each year and equips a wide range of patrons to revel in the breathless joy of cutting through playful zephyrs and out across the water. Wendy and Bruce encourage fishing and bringing pets on boating voyages, and the two share stories to delight guests or calm champagne bottles propped next to brand-new yachts. As propellers hum to life and paddles make a gentle kissing sound against the surf, visitors scan the horizon for the variety of wildlife that slips along just below the surf's surface or comes wheeling out of tufts of cumulonimbus. "I wish the animals would give us their schedules,” Wendy says, “but, on a given day, you could see manatees, dolphins, stingrays, and lots of birds."
Cinema 6 projects second-run films onto first-rate silver screens. Bring some friends and brandish your four movie tickets to see a box-office hit weeks after its premiere—the exact time when it has aged to its optimal ripeness, like a fine wine or a bag of Funyuns. As you watch, sip on two cool, carbonated beverages and chomp on the fluffy explosions of a large popcorn while taking in the scene-stealing performance of a favorite actor for the first, second, or eighth time. Although not included in the deal, Cinema 6 presents in-theater dining tables and a full menu of nonfried fare, including pizza, french fries, and mozzarella sticks, for those with more massive movie munchies. Recent titles have included Little Fockers and Tangled, but Groupon buyers should go online to check out what films are making their re-debut next.
Gator Paintball’s 27-acre facility boasts 10 diverse courses full of stealthy hiding spots. Players can choose how to divide their days among any of the courses. Suit up in provided gear and head for the Graveyard speedball course, where dearly departed hamster ghosts have the advantage over speeding paintballs this time. The Western Ghost Town course features an underground mine tunnel, an array of spooky edifices, and vehicles sitting at a spine-tingling standstill. Finally vindicate your genie wish for the ability to see through wood inside a two-story log cabin, or navigate a tree-filled field that surrounds a three-story castle. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and the facility opens during the week for reservations of at least 10 people. Other on-site features include spectator viewing on five fields, cooling mist fans, and a community of budding paintball artists. Reservations are recommended.