The crisscrossed emerald landscape south of Cleveland slips silently beneath up to eight passengers in a balloon’s large basket. A skilled pilot adds or releases pressure to the vessel, punctuating the otherwise still air over the stunning panoramas and placid scenes of sprawling greenery. Guests can also opt to charter private flights, allowing them to experience romantic moments or ask embarrassing questions about where clouds come from. All of HiLife Ballooning’s flights take off in the early morning or evening when winds are at their gentlest, allowing the captain to set the balloons down gently.
Stocked with know-how and all the necessary tools, the staffers at Gone Fishin' Bait and Tackle guide fishing trips on Springfield Lake and beyond. The store equips crews with bait, lures, and fishing poles, ready to aid in an angling expedition or plucking the toupee off of a villainous middle-school vice principal. After stocking up, fishermen go solo or join up with one of Gone Fishin's guided pontoon tours that traverse sparkling waters, taking in views of the surrounding foliage.
Customers at West River Kayak & Canoe take their pick from a fleet of kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards to cruise down the 27-mile Vermilion-Lorain Water Trail, a Class I–II waterway. Turtles, beavers, and deer make their homes along the banks and occasionally dart out to greet travelers as shale cliffs rear up in the distance. The shop's staff ensures that even boating newbies can wend their way through the picturesque scenery by offering introductory tutorials before each rental to impart the basics of paddling, from how to turn to how to rub two paddles together to make a fire for roasting hot dogs.
For three decades, the Ohio Light Opera (OLO) has produced premier opera culled from around the world. The OLO attracts 22,000 aria-aficionados annually, to the chagrin of staffers saddled with sweeping up shattered monocles. In recent years, the company has expanded its repertoire to include Broadway staples such as Camelot, Loewe and Lerner’s rumination on the more musical moments of King Arthur’s reign paired with the more dramatic patches of his relationship with the Lancelot-lusting Guinevere. Alternately, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Pirates of Penzance illuminates the classic tale of a pirate-turned-police-officer’s quest to vanquish vandals of the high seas while winning the unbridled affection of the major-general’s daughter.
A Class III dealer of firearms and accessories, Midwest Gun Club equips its clients with more than just firearms. The company also offers classes, which range from concealed-weapon-permit courses to safe handgun practices and home-defense seminars. All class instructors have a background in the military or law enforcement or have experience in national competition. Along with classes, they help their pupils and visitors practice their aim and perk their ears like a hunting hound at an in-house shooting range.
In 2009, the Cleveland City Stars folded, leaving the Sixth City without a soccer franchise to call its own. Two years later, the group of local soccer supporters known as the 6th City Syndicate finally found a new team to cheer for as AFC Cleveland (its initials: A Fans' Club) joined the National Premier Soccer League, finally bringing the beloved sport back to Cleveland's glacially-formed soccer stadiums. Bolstered by the Syndicate's support, the team surged into the NPSL spotlight in its very first season, winning the first-ever Rust Belt Derby and upsetting the Erie Admirals to claim the Great Lakes Conference championship.