The first running of the Potomac Hunt Races took place in 1952, and the event has been an annual tradition in Montgomery County ever since. The event celebrates steeplechase racing—a form of competition that originated in 18th-century Ireland, when riders would dash across uneven terrain and use towering church steeples as their beacons. Today, regular two- to four-mile tracks have become the battlegrounds for steeplechase events, and horses equipped with on-board GPS systems have made church steeples obsolete. Potomac Hunt Races carries on the tradition of this modern-day version of steeplechase racing, while implementing a tradition of its own: donating a portion of the proceeds from each year's event to charity.
Originally built in 1938 by noted movie-palace architect John Eberson, the AFI Silver Theatre's vintage hall transports viewers back to the heyday of the silver screen. In the fully restored main auditorium, curling lines decorate the wood-colored ceiling and glowing wings unfurl from the screen, echoing its art deco origins and comforting penguins who, also, will never fly. Two new, stadium-style theaters triple the number of possible screenings, and each auditorium comes tricked out with projectors that can handle everything from 16 mm to 70 mm film as well as the latest digital video.
At Montgomery Royal Theater, six screens beam larger-than-life stars into the eyes of moviegoers during showings of recently released flicks and Hollywood blockbusters. Viewers can sink into the theater's plush, cushioned seats to absorb action-packed reels that showcase the twists of budding romance or the dire consequences of resurrecting an extinct flower’s DNA. The theater’s concession stand outfits viewers with buckets of popcorn and cups brimming with soda, providing the appropriate rations to accompany treks into the fantastical worlds of first-run films.
Since 1971, Maryland Youth Ballet's team of trained instructors has helped both amateur dancers and aspiring Baryshnikovs hone their skills with a range of comprehensive classes. True beginners can begin their swan transformations during the introductory series, which covers fundamental barre exercises and promotes proper alignment, molting, and musicality. More experienced students can drop into one of the studio's ongoing sessions that range from jazz- and Broadway-style routines to Horton-based modern movement. Adult classes are open to ages 13 and older, and all participants must bring their own ballet flats or oversize bunny slippers.
A hardcore runner might laugh at the idea of a race that's only five miles long??until they realize the course has more than 25 obstacles designed to challenge the runners' physical and mental strength. That's the Siege Race, an event designed by elite law enforcement to help athletes feel more courageous and confident in their abilities. The obstacles include everything from scaling walls and inclined monkey bars to challenges such as climbing cargo nets and carrying weighted poles. Participants aren't required to conquer each obstacle, but those wanting to give it their best try can sign up for pre-race training events where trainers help runners practice on the actual obstacles.