Table Tennis Takes Center Stage
When you hear “table tennis,” childhood memories of a rickety table in the basement, a couple paddles and whatever balls you could keep away from the dog may come to mind. It wasn’t what you would call trendy or cool, well, until now. Table tennis is officially cool. From the story line for an episode of HBO’s hit show Entourage to rapper 50-Cent’s table tennis themed birthday party, ping pong is popular. The trend has inspired table tennis clubs across the U.S. However, in New York, Los Angeles and Milwaukee, enthusiasts have a special opportunity to play and party with SPiN, a table tennis social club. SPiN’s clubs are a mix of sport, design, and entertainment.The original SPiN location in New York opened in the summer of 2009. It is a 13,000-square-foot club that features 16 top-quality table-tennis courts, a stadium-like center court, bar, restaurant and private event room. Guests can play until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and until midnight or 2 a.m. most other nights. If you’re looking to incorporate table tennis into your event, but are not fortunate enough to be near one of the SPiN clubs, there are other options. Across the country, there are numerous table tennis groups that have experts and tables available for events. Many party rental companies have ping pong tables in their warehouses ready to be rented. These would be a great addition to any event looking for a bit of youthful exuberance. For more info on SPiN’s clubs, visit www.spingalactic.com.
Almost any town can boast of a local brewery. From big names every red-blooded American recognizes to local craft brewers creating one-of-a-kind recipes, beer abounds across the country. Following the lead of wine aficionados, many beer lovers have turned to tasting events that allow them to appreciate the variety that has become available. Event planners have recognized the trend and are hosting beer tasting events or adding beer tasting elements to their wine tasting events. Some also are offering beer pairings that match craft beers with cheeses or delicious locally produced foods. When hosting a beer tasting event, there are a few basics that every planner should know. The best way to taste any beverage is in a glass, and if possible, a wine glass. Plastic cups can impact flavors. Always let color be your guide and be sure to taste your beers starting with the lightest and moving to the darkest. Tasters will be making note of the beer’s appearance, aroma, taste, mouth feel and finish. So have notepads available for tasters to record their thoughts on each selection. Between selections, have water and sparkling water available for tasters to cleanse their palates. Finally, as with any tasting event, it can be advantageous to have an expert on hand to field questions and make sure each selection is presented to its fullest potential. For more tips on hosting a beer tasting or finding a craft brewery near you, visit www.craftbeer.com.
Wacky Competitions and Full Throttle Challenges
It may be winter, but event planners working on outdoor competitions are in full swing preparing for their events this spring and summer. Some will be overseeing a 5K or a cycling event. A select few are likely engaged in a more imaginative activity that is sure to garner the attention of fitness enthusiasts or those looking for something a little different to do with their friends. From adult Easter egg hunts offered in community parks after dark, to stiletto races and city-wide scavenger hunts, to urban Iditarods where humans pull decorated shopping carts through a city, this new breed of competition is filled with whimsy and open to a wide range of participants. Nearly every wacky competition requires a bit of physical endurance, but fun really is the key. For those possessing a greater physical strength, this new breed of event has spawned a number of full throttle fitness challenges. One is the urbanathalon. Urbanathalons ask participants to not only run ten or more miles but also handle numerous obstacles such as hundreds of stairs, tire mazes, marine hurdles, monkey bars, buses, taxicabs and walls. Whether the event is wacky or full throttle, each can help raise funds for a great cause or awareness of all a city has to offer. Plus participants tend to come back year after year because the challenge is just so much fun. MM&E