The plane's metal door slides open to the sound of pounding wind. A skydiving instructor and his student step to the edge. At the signal, they plunge into nothingness, more than 12,500 feet above mountains and rolling country landscape. For one exhilarating minute, the earth approaches at 200 kilometres per hour. Then, the instructor pulls the cord and the two begin floating together toward the ground, enjoying a fantastic view that satellites often take for granted.
It's all part of a day's work for the instructors at Edmonton Skydive. Building on a 25-year legacy, they prep students for first-jump courses or help them through the eight levels of Accelerated Free Fall programs, which cover a blend of CSPA requirements, technical basics, and hand signals for making small talk with eagles. They and their students then gather up the proper TSO-approved gear, board a DHC-6 Super Twin Otter, and hit the skies for hands-on solo training.
Run by designer Jenna Herbut and her brother Chandler, also a designer, the fairs showcase the work of more than 250 Canadian artisans and designers at events Merge magazine has described as "the craft sale for the next generation." The laid-back emporium?that has received tons of positive press?thrums with the energy of desingers such as Sugar + Candy, Faye Tality Couture, and Prickly Potter Ceramics as they enthusiastically promote their wares. Music serenades ears wandering between booths, and homemade creations from vendors such as My Chocolate Tree sate hunger with snacks that are as sweet and savoury as a love poem written in worcestershire sauce.
As an extension of her mission to improve designers' livelihoods, Jenna channels her background in marketing into a parallel venture Make It! University, which helps artisans hone their business models.
Founded with the objective of simplifying the often overcomplicated art of digital photography, fotoscool employs a team of seasoned instructors—each a longtime professional with a celebrated career—to guide photography students through seminars and workshops held across the country. Keeping their overarching objective of simple-yet-entertaining instruction in mind, savvy teachers design each session to get participants on their feet with hands-on activities such as interactive exercises, on-location shoots in scenic locales, and bonding human-camera trust falls. In an effort to branch out of the classroom, fotoscool also periodically hosts tours that ferry photo enthusiasts to scenic far-flung locales for extended shooting lectures and on-site experience.
At Lotus Soul Yoga, experienced practitioners and instructors lead a wide variety of yoga classes. The multidisciplinary gym offers styles such as hatha, vinyasa flow, yin yoga, and warm flow. Additionally, the studio offers classes geared towards beginners, pre- or post-natal customers, and even family yoga, which is kid-friendly.
At Circus Gatti, exotic animals, hilarious showmen, and thrilling daredevils delight families in an outrageous three-ring spectacle. During the two-hour show, elephants Tika and Patti stomp to Bollywood choreography, and the Liberty Ponies knock their synchronized hooves under the deft direction of Miss Genevieve, who conducts with a baton made of sugar cubes. The Great Oscar soars through the heavens with nothing but an oversize rope and bones infused with helium, with The Queen Bee delivering further aerial thrills while fluttering beside her hive in an atmospheric ballet. Pipin and Poppy elicit laughs with their comedy routine, and Miss Elizabeth induces awe with a contortion and balancing act in which she fires an arrow with her legs and feet while hanging upside down. After the show, those who opted for the meet and greet will brush elbows with the circus stars, snapping photos and asking questions regarding their skill, bravery, and how to construct a Q-tip big enough to clean an elephant's ear.
Trophy Book indoctrinates pupils in recreational archery with a comprehensive indoor shooting lesson. During two hours of range practice, experts illuminate basic archery mechanics including aim, stance, and Cupid repellents. Aspiring bull's-eye hunters can brandish rented bows and arrows at no additional cost and receive thorough safety instruction from seasoned guides. In addition to hosting archery lessons in standard lanes, Trophy Book also regales customers with TechnoHunt virtual reality lanes (not included in the price of this Groupon) that simulate indoor and outdoor shooting scenarios and games of Pin the Brooch on the Donkey for digital target practice.