Greek music reverberates into the open air as the rich smell of roasting lamb entices crowds walking into the annual Pasadena GreekFest in Santa Anita Park. Lined with stalls selling Greek wares and traditional Greek food, the fest celebrates Greek culture with three days of socializing, dancing, and lightening-bolt throwing. When not munching on honey-soaked bites of fried loukoumathes or shish kebabs, families can look at the goods for sale or scale the inflatable equipment in the kids’ fun zone.
On 12 sunny courts at Arcadia Tennis Center, certified instructors help students learn the fundamentals of tennis and hone their playing skills. Under new management as of June 2012, the staff is dedicated to new beginnings, organizing group lessons for both juniors and adults, each with a low student-to-teacher ratio to ensure individual improvement. In addition to the beginners' lessons, Arcadia Tennis Center hosts youth summer camps and regular leagues, which merge healthy competition with the sport's social aspects, much like a football game's halftime debutante ball.
The percussiveness of Latin and ballroom music resounds through Sonata Room, where founders and decorated dancers Laura Powell and Brandon Kwae lead private and group dance classes. A champion of the International Grand Ball Championships and Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships, Laura brings her hard-earned talent to the classroom, where she has trained up-and-coming dancers for 25 years. Watching a televised dance championship first spurred Brandon onto the dance floor, his quickly developed skills eventually placing him on the podium in competition. Together, the duo now patiently and technically break down each dance step for their students without using intimidating tactics, such as dancing with the time-out chair. Their spacious, dimly lit, and wood-floored studio also hosts occasional events, including bimonthly ballroom-dance parties.
Move playtime out of the sizzling summer heat and into the climate-controlled Little Tykes Playground at Kids Island, where children as old as eight can safely crawl, climb, and explore across a variety of pint-sized equipment. Outside food is allowed in the separate snack room, so come for playtime and stay for a picnic. Likewise, while loading up on snacks, load your children's minds with stories using Kids Island's children's library, or read a story out of Mother Nature's library (the Internet) with the available free Wi-Fi. Playing parents and supervising children are allowed leave and come back during the same day for free.