Exclusive Sports Leisure Travel Club Special of the Month

Each month, we’ll be using this blog to post a new exclusive discount for Travel Club members only!  This month’s coupon will get you $25.00 off The Fourth in Philly tour which can be found on page 51 of our new 2010 catalog.  Make sure to check back here regularly for the Travel Club Member Special of the Month. 

To redeem your coupon, grab your Sports Leisure Travel Club number and click here.

Chris and the Pageant of the Masters

Chris Galloway, one of our Tour Directors, just returned from taking the August tour to the Pageant of the Masters and the Hollywood Bowl last week. Here he offers his observations on the pageant, which is certainly one of the most unique cultural arts events in the country.

I got the call from Mark that a tour director was needed to escort a group to Laguna Beach to attend The Festival of the Arts & Pageant of the Masters. Knowing nothing of what the Pageant entailed, I hesitantly accepted the assignment. I did my research and was convinced that I would never appreciate the spectacle of the Pageant. I mean, a show comprised of people posing and replicating famous works of art? I had my doubts. My travelers, many of whom had attended the pageant previously, tried to convince me that I was in for a real treat and would be awe struck. By the time intermission came, I had to admit to them all, with hat-in-hand, I was impressed, absolutely amazed and intrigued. Though words can never capture the brilliance of the show, allow me to try.

The whole concept behind The Pageant of The Masters is to make what in real life is 3-D (the performers and sets), appear two dimensional and replicate famous works of art. Through the use of specialized sets, costumes, creatively applied make-up, and the magic of stage lighting, live people completely disappeared into the painting, so that one cannot distinguish the live performers from the rest of the subjects in the paintings.

In one instillation, the stage crew explains and demonstrates how this illusion is achieved. The sets are all constructed so that the foreground is to scale and slopes backwards into the scenery. Even the size of the performers is also used to create scale. For example, children are dressed as adults, and because of their small size, it creates the illusion that they are in the background of the painting. All the performers are harnessed into the set and posed identically to the subjects in the painting. Next, an adjustable framing system and drapes are used to dress the image. The lights are turned off, then stage lights are used and…voila!…the illusion is complete. On more than one occasion, I found myself slack-jawed, exclaiming, “No Way!” Seeing how the magician’s tricks are performed only heighten my enjoyment, because afterwards, I was better able to appreciate how much time, work, and creativity went into each presentation.

I was so impressed that I have already approached Mark about the possibility of returning next year with a group to the Pageant of The Masters. If you want a touch of class and appreciate the arts, I invite you to come along on next year’s trip as art comes alive right before your eyes!

Building a Dream Book

Each year about this time, we barricade ourselves in the Sports Leisure offices and work feverishly for three weeks to produce our annual Tour Catalog.  We often refer to it as a "Dream Book," because we know that’s what many people do when they see it.  They start to dream.  Big dreams of far-away places, smaller dreams of returning to that favorite spot you visited oh-so-many-years-ago.
As hotel contracts, restaurant menus, tour cost sheets and proposals for attending attractions and cultural events float across my desk, it’s impossible not to dream a little yourself.  My specialty is Classic Highway Tours, so I’m up to my elbows in Route 66, The Lincoln Highway and Highway 101 for next year.  Talking with old friends to plan a return visit, finding exciting unique things (and people) to add to our trips, it’s all in a day’s work. 
This morning, I spoke with the folks at the Latrobe Country Club in Pennsylvania.  Latrobe is the hometown of Arnold Palmer, and the country club is owned by him and run by his brother.  We enjoyed lunch there last year (the country club is on Arnold Palmer Drive, which is actually the original Lincoln Highway route), and if you ever have the opportunity to visit with a member, take it.  The clubhouse is like taking a step back in time to the 1960’s, when Arnie was king of the links.  I can’t wait to get back next year.  Made hotel reservations in South Bend today for the same trip, home not only to Notre Dame, but also to the best candy shoppe in the country, South Bend Chocolates…
Back to building tours and making dreams come true.  The new catalog hits the streets Sunday, August 29th, at our annual Tour Preview Day at the Marriott Hotel.  Space is still available for the 4:15pm session.  Call our office for details.  And prepare to have your dreams come true…