'Halloweentown' Is Real, St. Helens Oregon To Host Festivities Throughout October

Halloweentown lovers rejoice. There’s still time to pack your favorite costume, tune up your broom, and head out to St. Helens, Oregon. In case you’re unaware, this is the quaint little town where much of Disney’s Halloweentown was filmed in 1998. According to Cosmopolitan, the residents of St. Helens have been recreating the experience almost every October ever since. ‘Halloweentown’ isn’t just a classic Disney movie — it’s a real place you should visit https://t.co/OQM54i0L81 pic.twitter.com/6gsfCAtfoN — HuffPostEnt (@HuffPostEnt) October 6, 2016 Kimberly J. Brown, who starred as Marnie Piper in the movie, was more than a little excited to return to St. Helens this weekend for the main event. In July, she discussed the appearance on her website Kimberly J. Brown. In part, this is what she had to say. “Every year, St. Helens (the city where the first “Halloweentown” movie was filmed) recreates the look of the Town Square from the movie complete with the big Jack O’Lantern in the center. This year, I’ll be attending the festival for TWO DAYS of activities, October 8th and 9th. We’ll probably do a Costume Contest, have photo ops in different spots around the Town Square, and of course say the spell from “Halloweentown” with the crowd and light the pumpkin!” Don’t think that just because you missed this weekend’s festivities, it’s not worth the journey to St. Helen’s Halloweentown. Quite honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. These are just a few of the many highlights to consider. This information is courtesy of Discover Columbia County. Visit the site for the full schedule of events. Please note, there are both free and paid events. These Halloweentown happenings started out strictly as a local event. But, over the years, more and more people make the decision to attend. Not surprisingly, some of the ever-growing interest can be attributed to the power of social media. Thursday through Sunday nights, you won’t want to miss the haunted house tour. There’s also a “ghostly” walk around town that takes place daily. If you happen to be in the mood for a séance, don’t hesitate to contact Kathleen Dering at The Klondike. On October 14 and 15, The Shadow by Shoestring Community Players will present the Mystery Hour Radio Theater. This 90-minute show will be held at the St. Helens High School Auditorium. Before each performance, there will be fun activities like Halloween face painting, balloon animal creation, a spooky tractor ride and a hot rod and hearse rally. After the show, there will be a huge bonfire on the waterfront. Just went past the movie theater from the 1st #Halloweentown. I love being back in @sthelens???????? pic.twitter.com/1WCULLLsYo — Kimberly J. Brown (@OfficialKJB) October 8, 2016 If you’re a pumpkin carving genius, don’t forget to drop off your masterpiece at St. Helens City Hall between the dates of October 17 and 21. Public judging will take place on October 22. You may even win a cash prize. Please note, LED candles will be provided to light your pumpkin. Do you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer? If you answered yes, mark your calendar for October 30. Nicholas Brendon will be making a stop in St. Helen’s Halloweentown for photo opportunities. There will also be haunted pony rides, face painting, and more. There will be more photo ops at the Court House Plaza on Halloween day. The self-guided haunted tour is also something to consider. You can print out tour card locations on this Facebook page. Are you familiar with Disney’s Halloweentown franchise? If so, which of these holiday movie classics is your favorite? Yes, 17 years have passed since the original film premiered. But, that doesn’t mean that fans have lost interest along the way. In fact, scores of new Halloweentown lovers are cashing in on the spooky fun every day. [Featured Image via Facebook]

Disney World's Animal Kingdom Is Open For Late Night

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is open until 11 p.m. beginning Friday, May 27 according to the Orlando Sentinel. After three years of careful preparation, Disney’s zoology experts are satisfied that the change will not put stress on the animals. Scott Terrell, Walt Disney Parks and Resort’s director of animal and science operations explains. “We’ve had three years to get ready for this. So we were able to start really intensely thinking about the animals three years ago. How we were going to bolster the population, how we were going to care for them, how we were going to be able to be sure they have a great experience just like our guests.” Disney World’s Animal Kingdom added two new species of nocturnal animals to their Savanna exhibit. Six painted dogs and two hyenas have been transferred into the Animal Kingdom. The painted dogs came from the Cincinnati zoo. They are a species of wild dog with brown, black and white splotches and swirl designs on their coats. Wild Painted Dogs [Image by Nagel Photography/Shutterstock]In addition, The Animal Kingdom nearly doubled their overall number of all species on the Savanna section, to ensure that guests will be able to see examples of each species. They were careful both in the placement of nighttime attractions and in soundproofing shows and restaurants since some animals sleep at night. Many animals though are nocturnal, becoming more active late at night. Lions, for example, may be spotted relaxing during the day, but move about a lot more at night. Disney World’s Animal Kingdom has a new restaurant as well according to Inside The Magic. Adjacent to the Nomad Lounge, the new Tiffins restaurant is now open complete with soundproofing so animals will not be bothered by human partying. The décor and menu follow a South American, African and Asian theme, with warmly painted goldenrod-colored walls and native style artwork. The menu features Lobster Popcorn Thi Curry soup as well as South American chocolate ganache. Tiffins also have sustainability goals, with whole sustainable fish and sustainable organic wine. Lion [image by Xiong Tianyi/Shutterstock]Lighting has been a major issue with the park. The park lighting mimics sunset during the night, casting long shadows and allowing animals to choose to appear in the light or rest quietly in the shade. Scott Terrell explains how new lighting is sensitive to the needs of animals. “You see a very natural lighting pattern. You see areas of light and dark. They’re not in a football stadium. They’re in a very naturally, softly lit environment where they have the choice if they want to move into the darkness or out in the light.” The new Tree of Life light display will be the centerpiece of the park according to The Motley Fool. It will be lit with glowing projections of animal spirits. By next year, there will be an Avatar themed area spanning 12 acres, and hopefully, a Rivers of Light attraction to replace the idea of fireworks without all the noise will be completed by then. At Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, this summer only, guests can enjoy The Jungle Book Alive With Magic show. It should be exciting and it is just Disney’s way of making up for the absence of the River of Lights extravaganza still under construction. Disney World’s Animal Kingdom has been rising in popularity over its 18-year lifespan, however in the past, it has closed at 6 p.m. There are no rides and people often leave this park early. The park hopes to retain guests into the evening and nighttime hours with their new attractions and later hours. Late night gives park-goers the unique opportunity to view nocturnal animals while enjoying a break from the hot Florida sun. Disney World’s Animal Kingdom offers late night guests a unique experience. [Image by Legenda/Shutterstock]

What Is The Purpose Hotel? How Jeremy Cowart Plans To Change The World While You Sleep

Up until now, Jeremy Cowart has been known as a photographer of the stars, but now he wants to be known for changing the world with what he is calling “The Purpose Hotel.” For the last ten years, the celebrity photographer has photographed various celebrities including Sting, Britney Spears, the Kardashians, Taylor Swift, and others. Throughout the process, he’s stayed at various hotels and, according to his Kickstarter page, none have left him inspired, so he began a new journey creating one that can. According to Cowart, better hotel stays are the ones where you leave feeling more refreshed than you when you checked in, but if you can help change the lives of others in the process, it can be the best hotel stay ever. Cowart is the founder of a new ambitious project called The Purpose Hotel, where every product used will help support a specific cause or outreach program. His dream is to help you “change the world while you sleep,” and help tackle real-world issues like poverty, clean water, human trafficking, and others. Sound impossible? Don’t tell him that. “For the last decade, I have been traveling around the world, shooting for, collaborating with, speaking with and meeting incredible nonprofits,” Cowart says. “Their founders and teams have become close friends, but I’ve never understood the bigger picture until now. My journey has led me to this moment, where I get the opportunity to help all of them through The Purpose Hotel. What a gift. I could not be more thrilled to move forward on this journey together.” In The Purpose Hotel’s Kickstarter page, Cowart explains how no two hotel stays will be the same for each guest. “Under the room number outside your door, you see a boy or girl who your room helps gives access to education, food, clothing and more. Inside your room, you relax in a plush, modern place where you can learn about every object in the room and why it was selected. As you walk around the hotel, the walls and the art tell stories of people from cultures around the world who are part of the movement, like artisans and skilled workers.” The Purpose Hotel has a “1 for 100” benefit model in that each stay, a guest will be able to help 100 lives or more. “We can build something that changes lives and becomes a defining mark of this generation. What will we be remembered for? We can leave a legacy of purpose, hope and freedom. (Or we can be known for Pokémon Go.)” From blankets to specialty soaps to room furniture — a variety of different charities will benefit from those who stay at The Purpose Hotel including: Charity: Water, Compassion International, Dignify, Exile International, Fashionable, Food for the Hungry, HOPE International, International Justice Mission, Legacy Building, Mission Lazarus, Preemptive Love Coalition, Project 615, Project 7, Raven + Lily, People of the Second Chance, The Giving Keys, Thistle Farms, To Write Love on Her Arms, and Zenith Cleaners. Have you heard of @JeremyCowart‘s project? It’s called The Purpose Hotel and you can change the world in your sleep. https://t.co/r7VFgsVQ0g — Intl Justice Mission (@IJM) July 31, 2016 Jeremy Cowart doesn’t want this project to be all about him, so he’s inviting others into the process through Kickstarter. “We’re not crowdfunding just because we need the money. We’re crowdfunding because it gives you a place in the process. The idea of this hotel being built for the world, by the world is a far more beautiful narrative than the traditional for-profit launch. The Purpose Hotel is a rallying point. It’s a junction where community, justice, microenterprise, technology, art and design intersect.” The very first Purpose Hotel is planned to be built in Nashville, Tennessee. Those who join the Kickstarter at the co-founder level will find a photo of their face shown on the walls of every Purpose Hotel built. “We’re not just building a hotel chain; we’re innovating a business model that reimagines the hotel concept and allows hundreds of organizations to multiply their efforts and hundreds of thousands to fulfill their purpose — including yours,” says Cowart. I’m so proud of my friend, Jeremy Cowart and his Purpose Hotel. I’m joining in his Kickstarter. https://t.co/smWn0Y5TaW # via @HuffPostBlog — Bob Goff (@bobgoff) July 25, 2016 [Photo by Thinkstock]

Bran Castle: Spend Halloween Night In Count Dracula's Castle, Courtesy Of Bram Stoker's Great-Grandnephew And Airbnb

Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle, hasn’t catered to overnight guests since 1948. But that’s about to change, according to The Pueblo Chieftan. Thanks to Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew and Airbnb, two lucky people will win the opportunity to camp out in Count Dracula’s amazingly gothic digs on October 31. The winners will be whisked off to Romania, only to arrive at Bran Castle in a horse-drawn carriage. None other than Stoker’s nephew Dacre Stoker will be waiting to greet them. Dressed as a character from his uncle’s famous novel, Dacre plans on welcoming them with the following sentiment. “Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!” After touring the castle and eating a delicious meal, the winners will be left alone to bask in the spookiness of their surroundings. They can either sleep in the coffins, pictured above, or in traditional beds, whichever they prefer. The Gothic Bran Castle, better known as Dracula Castle, is seen on a rainy day in Bran, in Romania’s central Transylvania region. [Image by Vadim Ghirda/AP Images] In a report by Winona Daily News, the candlelight dinner will consist of, among other things, chicken paprikash. If you’ve read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, you might recall the same dish being mentioned at some point in the story. Bran Castle gained its notoriety as Dracula’s Castle because of a real-life prince who was known as Vlad the Impaler. Vlad didn’t own the castle, which was originally used as a military fortress. However, he lived there briefly on more than one of his visits to Transylvania. He may have been imprisoned there for two months in 1462 as well. How did he get his name? It was common for Vlad to impale his victims, as a means of punishment for whatever he thought they did wrong and also to avenge the deaths of two of his immediate family members. Similar Stories on Inquisitr Hollywood Vampires Visit Dracula’s Castle With Tim Burton and ‘Really Happy’ Johnny Depp Dracula’s Descendent Prince Charles Reveals His Passion For The Transylvanian Countryside ‘Dracula’ Director Francis Ford Coppola On The Nightmare Of Adapting Bram Stoker’s Novel Vlad The Impaler Unearthed? Archaeologists May Have Found Dracula’s Dungeon Nicholas Cage Once Slept In Dracula’s Castle, Owned A Haunted House Airbnb has this sage advice for the winners of the contest. No silver jewelry, garlic, making of crosses or looking glass selfies in Count Dracula’s Castle. After all, everyone knows that vampires aren’t especially fond of mirrors. There’s still time to enter the contest. According to the official rules, you have until 11:59 p.m. on October 26 to share your thoughts about what you would say to Dracula if you happened to bump into him at Bran Castle. The challenge is to be as witty as vampire-ly possible in 550 characters or less. Not only do submissions need to revolve around the legend of Dracula, they must also surprise and delight the judges. Visit the contest page for more information. The manor sits on a mountain top in the Carpathians. The castle itself is comprised of 57 rooms and a host of spooky nooks and dimly-lit corridors to explore, not to mention the tower lookout and secret passageway that leads into the grand dining room. Bran Castle pic.twitter.com/EuoNrnXeRe — jamilla (@Jamilla_t) October 23, 2016 Bran Castle is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania. Almost 650,000 visitors tour the grounds each year. Dacre Stoker hopes that the publicity of this contest will show both the realistic and legendary aspects of the region. That being said, he looks forward to playing the role of Jonathan Harker, just as he enjoyed staging the castle for the winners. Are you brave enough to spend the night in Transylvania’s Bran Castle? If your answer is yes, now’s the time to come up with your best vampire prose. Someone has to win. With a little black cat-inspired luck, it might even be you! [Featured Image by Andreea Alexandru/AP Images]

This Is 'Most Miserable Airport' In America

Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey has been named the most miserable airport in the United States, according to a report by MilesCards.com released on Wednesday. The travel site, which compares credit cards that offer frequent flyer miles, published its annual report ranking airports in the U.S. by delays for the summer flying season. MilesCards.com analyzed Department of Transportation data for the 50 busiest airports for each summer since 2010, and ranked airports based on everything from on-time arrivals, the wait time between the plane leaving the gate and actually taking off, how long it takes to get a taxi, and what is called the “Misery Score.” The site gave Newark airport the dubious honor of having the highest score, a “misery index” of 95 on a scale of 1 to 100. The analysis covered flights during the summer months from 2010 to 2015. “Newark is the most miserable airport for summer travel with a Misery Score of 95, earned by the lowest on time ranking, being among the 5 worst for waiting to take off, and in the 10 worst for getting to the gate after landing. New York – La Guardia, Chicago O’Hare, and New York – Kennedy each followed closely with a Misery Score of 94.” Thanks for a lovely few hours, New Jersey. And now for the final flight of the day… @ Newark Liberty Int'l Airport pic.twitter.com/6Kpw2bQA4U — Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 27, 2016 On average, only 68.4 percent of flights flying into Newark arrived on time, according to the report, giving it the lowest on-time ranking. It also had one of the longest wait-times for takeoff, and one of the slowest times for arriving at the gate after landing. All this wait time is even without the waits at security checkpoints, which have drawn criticism from from New Jersey members of Congress and forced federal lawmakers to have the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hire more screeners. “If you’re flying into the New York City area, you have a better chance of arriving on time at Kennedy Airport than at Newark,” Brian Karimzad, director of MileCards.com, said to NJ.com. “You might want to consider a drive to Philadelphia.” Some of the problems plaguing Newark are likely due to its status as the largest hub airport in the Northeast of the U.S., which services many smaller cities and therefore experiences a great deal of air traffic and has a greater chance of flight delays. Travel and Leisure noted that this is not the first time the East Coast airport has faced criticism. “T+L readers called it one of the worst in the country for—you guessed it—’miserable check-in and security lines.’ Things were already starting to look a little glum for summer travel this year, in part because of the outrageous security lines extending for three hours or more. But keep in mind that June is always the worst month on the calendar for flight delays at U.S. airports, thanks to thunderstorms and the massive influx of travelers.” #Airport Security #hatethewait media shows up at Newark Liberty & maaan did that line start moving fast! @fox5ny pic.twitter.com/RVQeooPuq0 — Lisa Evers (@LisaEvers) May 23, 2016 The “least miserable” airports on the list were notably all on the West Coast, including the international airports in San Jose and Sacramento in California, and in Portland, Oregon. San Jose and Portland were the least miserable for summer travel, with Misery Scores of 11 and 12, respectively. Newark and San Francisco were the worst airports for flight delays, with San Francisco experiencing frequent fog delays and Newark facing congestion and thunderstorms. Now for the good news: the data suggests both airports are improving. Analyzing the data for summer 2015, Newark improved to 71.5% rate of on-time arrivals while San Francisco improved to a 75.2% on-time arrival rate. The Port Authority had no immediate comment on the study. According to MilesCards.com, June is the worst month for delays at U.S. airports, with an estimated 75.4% of flights arriving on time during the month, as opposed to 83.9% during the best month, September. [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Thailand's Tourism Scene Is About To Change Forever, Pledge Officials

Telegraph reports that the legendary red light scene that has become closely tied to tourism in Thailand is about to change and will never be the same again, thanks to a pledge made by Thailand’s first female tourism minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, in June. Thailand is an absolutely huge tourist destination for international travelers. Delicious food, incredibly low local pricing, exotic locales, and easy immigration procedures all help Thailand to stay on the fringe of the tourism business. Another huge draw, and arguably the thing with which Thailand’s tourism has become most closely associated, is its technically illegal but largely unregulated pay-for- nightlife. Depending on how you feel about that fact, it may or may not come as good news that all it is about to change. Our partner told us that in just 1 area of Bangkok there are as many as 10,000 workers trying to earn a living. pic.twitter.com/cn9OCZECkg — Noel Brewer Yeatts (@NoelYeatts) February 22, 2016 Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the first-ever female to hold the office of Thailand’s tourism minister, was elected back in 2014. She set her sights on minimizing Thailand’s tourism reputation soon after she assumed the position, at first targeting Pattaya, Thailand’s immensely popular resort town, as an isolated test site for her project. Her plan was to make Pattaya, and eventually all of Thailand, known for its scenery and rich culture rather than sleazy nightlife. “We want Thailand to be about quality tourism. We want the industry gone,” Kobkarn said recently. Although Kobkarn’s idea was nice in theory, many Thailand residents agreed it was simply unrealistic. According to The Daily Mail, there are about 123,530 people currently working in the industry in Thailand. The Sun recounts that the industry accounts for 10 percent of Thailand’s GDP. Experts say it would be a huge blow to Thailand’s economy, which is already recovering from a massive recession in 2014, if those jobs were to be shut down. “There’s no denying this industry generates a lot of income,” says Panom Utaisri, director of a non-profit that helps female workers in Thailand to find more legitimate work. “Wiping out this industry is guaranteed to make Thailand lose visitors and income.” Kobkarn is not about to give up, though, a point that became abundantly clear in June, when a series of Thai brothels were raided. The Telegraph piece says that over 100 arrests — including 15 underage girls — were made in one Bangkok nightclub alone. The workers embraced by the wrong arms of the law | Bangkok Post: news – Bangkok Post https://t.co/X0vyD7mFZG pic.twitter.com/5ggBZ3ajFE — Menagpro.org (@Menagpro) July 24, 2016 The spread of Kobkarn’s anti-prostitution campaign to Bangkok, Thailand’s biggest city, could very well mean huge things for the Thai red light industry, as the business and law enforcement climates in Bangkok tend to set the tone for Thailand at large. Unfortunately, points out The Daily Mail, Thailand’s government and Kobkarn herself seem to be focusing a lot of energy on denying the roots of the issues run as deep as they do and that elimination of Thailand’s industry may very well necessitate a radical restructuring of Thailand’s economy from the ground up. “Tourists don’t come to Thailand for such a thing. They come here for our beautiful culture,” Kobkarn told the press. It could be that her exact meaning was lost in translation, but it sounds like she is trying to deny Thailand has a huge prostitution proliferation issue to be dealt with and a deep-rooted reputation that will have to be combated even after any changes are made. Thailand Minister of Sports & Tourism, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, taking over the role of host nation for #WTTC 2017. pic.twitter.com/60jWgxV89k — AUGMENTIQ (@augmentiq) April 7, 2016 Meanwhile, points out the Sun piece, one cannot blame Thailand’s workers for taking advantage of the employment opportunity. In a single night, a Thai prostitute can earn about 5,000 Baht (equivalent to $143), which is almost 20 times Thailand’s minimum wage. It seems very unlikely Kobkarn will give up her crusade against Thailand’s illegal work, but can she really fight an industry that has that much economic power. One thing’s for sure: Thailand’s tourists will be noticing changes in both the red light and law enforcement scenes. Whether or not those changes will help Kobkarn and Thailand’s government progress towards their goal is anyone’s guess. [Photo by tbradford/Getty Images]

Allegiant Air Has Mid-Air Breakdowns Four Times More Than Any Other U.S. Airline

One airline experiences four times more mid-air breakdowns than any other U.S. airline, according to a new report. Inc. reveals that Allegiant Air tops the record with unscheduled landings due to mechanical issues. Analysis taken by The Tampa Bay Times uncovered some startling statistics concerning mechanical issues that face the airline’s planes. It was determined that Allegiant Air was four times more likely to have unscheduled landings due to mechanical problems over other U.S. carriers from January 2015 to September 2016. Allegiant Air changes course after Times investigation, admits too many planes failed https://t.co/1vHmnL5gOl via @TB_Times — William R. Levesque (@Times_Levesque) November 2, 2016 In summing up what the Times reports, Allegiant has 86 planes and 42 of them broke down at least one time during flights in 2015. The commercial carrier’s planes had a minimum of 77 forced landings as a result of mechanical failures. There were 39 engine failures between January 2015 and September 2016. Moreover, Allegiant made repairs to essential parts of its planes, but the same parts broke down again a total of 18 times last year. Allegiant Air has a fleet of planes that average 22 years of age and maintenance engineers are at 11 of the 118 airports they fly passengers to. Other airlines have engineers at the same number of airports. On average, an airline may have three unplanned landings for every 10,000 flights; Allegiant Air had over 12 mid-air mechanical failures. Maurice Gallagher, Jr., CEO of Allegiant Air, said the conclusion of the analysis was “unacceptable” and review what they did in 2015. “I can look at what we did (in 2015) and it wasn’t acceptable,” Gallagher said. “I don’t disagree with the thrust of your numbers. We want to be well-known as being reliable and on time, and obviously safe, and that’s an important part of our brand. And we’re going to make sure we do those things. But if you stub your toe, step up and own it and move on.” The airline issued a statement following the Times‘ report. “Maintenance events are not tied to any specific location or to the age of an aircraft,” the airline wrote. “Most maintenance events are related not to the age of the aircraft, but rather to the number of takeoffs and landings (cycles) performed by an individual plane.” Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler told the Times in 2015 that the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t found any cause for concern. Allegiant Air flys in and out of Niagara Falls International Airport. This is something travelers may want to note. https://t.co/3MkqcW3LGW — 7 Eyewitness News (@WKBW) November 6, 2016 While Gallagher did say that Allegiant Air is making progress improving upon its performance. The CEO had a meeting with state and local officials in April addressing the “bad summer” the airline had in 2015. “When you put people and machines together, there are going to be problems,” Gallagher said. “The issues you’ve read about in the paper are directly related to our own growth. We’ve since changed our management here (in Pinellas County). You won’t see that experience again.” Allegiant Air admits it needs to replace its outdated MD-80 planes, which has disappointed the carrier in reliability. The airline plans to purchase 12 new Airbus planes over the course of the next two years. Allegiant Air has routinely bought used planes at reduced cost. According to the report, emergency landings at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport first drew attention that something wasn’t going right with some of Allegiant Air’s planes. The incidents attracted a closer look at Allegiant’s adherence to safety and reliability. Inc. reports that in 2015 Allegiant Air was the most profitable airline in America. It had a net profit for the quarter of $56.7 million last December; that was 11 times more profit than what was made in 2014. [Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]

Best Memorial Day Beaches To Visit This Holiday Weekend

It’s Memorial Day weekend and that means it’s time for people to head to the beach. While weather varies across the nation making a trip to the beach dependent upon Mother Nature, many people plan to spend Memorial Day and the weekend at the beach. For some, Memorial Day is the official start of the summer season; even though the holiday’s true meaning is a solemn one. Memorial Day is a designated time when Americans remember the veterans who gave their lives for freedom. The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day is that Memorial Day remembers those who died in service and Veterans’ Day is a time to remember and recognize all veterans. While many people visit cemeteries and place flags, wreaths and flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, Memorial Day weekend is also associated with barbecues, cookouts, parties and spending time at the beach. Here are some of the best Memorial Day beaches to visit this holiday weekend. Ready for #MemorialDayWeekend? @USATODAY says #HiltonHead is one of “ten beaches to start #summer off right”: https://t.co/7ITyk6tRHc — Hilton Head Island (@hiltonheadsc) May 28, 2016 USA Today reported on the top beaches for Memorial Day weekend and topping the list was Clearwater Beach in Florida. #MemorialDay Weekend is almost here! Tons of fun things to do: https://t.co/pVZ7gFXdFK #LiveAMPlified pic.twitter.com/ujGPv0snhx — St. Pete/Clearwater (@VSPC) May 26, 2016 Clearwater Beach is repeatedly listed as one of the best beaches to visit in the nation. Those looking for a great destination for Memorial Day weekend with plenty of events to keep busy will want to consider visiting Clearwater Beach. ICYMI: @TravelChannel thinks you should make your next escape to #StPeteBeach! https://t.co/mHLk9cqRgT pic.twitter.com/CVJhu8IBqG — St. Pete/Clearwater (@VSPC) May 28, 2016 Next on the list is Amelia Island, also in Florida. Florida destinations often top the list of best beaches for Memorial Day weekend, due to the warm climate and that the Gulf waters are already at a perfect temperature. Amelia Island also has a full schedule of Memorial Day activities planned. Experience Amelia Island in 60 Seconds https://t.co/CgXah1mm6c @Go2AmeliaIsland #LoveFL pic.twitter.com/CIQKXldQqb — VISIT FLORIDA (@VISITFLORIDA) May 19, 2016 Find out Where to Ride Horses on the Beach in Amelia Island @enjoyAmelia https://t.co/foEpbANuwW — Where First Coast (@WhereFirstCoast) May 23, 2016 USA Today also chose Indiana Dunes as one of their top Memorial Day weekend destinations. USA Today chose #indianadunes as one of the best beaches in the WORLD for Memorial Day! https://t.co/nLd4MZ48Ac pic.twitter.com/7mbDQK8l3b — IndianaDunesTourism (@indianadunes) May 27, 2016 In addition the USA Today report, the Travel Channel also compiled a list of the best beach destinations for Memorial Day weekend. While Florida topped the USA Today list, Virginia Beach, Virginia leads the Travel Channel’s list. Virginia Beach provided a list of resort towns that are perfect for Memorial Day getaways on the beach. Preparing for the start to summer & time spent soaking up the sun this Memorial Day weekend. Thanks, @cheatsheet! https://t.co/Z2yMhGucJ0 — Visit Virginia Beach (@VisitVaBch) May 23, 2016 CBS Local compiled a list of the five best New York beaches for those celebrating Memorial Day weekend. These include Rockaway Beach in Queens, Orchard Beach in the Bronx, Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach in Staten Island. Beach season is back! Hundreds of New Yorkers will be soaking up the sun by the shore this Memorial Day weekend…. https://t.co/xr6NzHjkEQ — WLNY (@WLNYTV) May 28, 2016 Those in San Francisco have plenty of beaches to choose from for their Memorial Day weekend. Top beaches in San Francisco include Pescadero State Beach, Montara State Beach, Devil’s Slide (Grey Whale Cove), “Taco Bell” Beach, Fort Funston Beach Walk, Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, Marshall’s Beach, Stinson Beach and Agate Beach Park. Map: 10 San Francisco beaches to visit Memorial Day weekend.???? https://t.co/LCl7LJK4eq pic.twitter.com/bQQUdkE33O — Curbed SF (@CurbedSF) May 28, 2016 Are you planning on spending Memorial Day weekend at the beach? [Photo by EllenSmile/Shutterstock]

'Wings Over Washington,' New Disney-Like Attraction Opens This Month In Seattle

Kyle Griffith, vice president of Great Western Attractions and co-owner of Miners Landing at Pier 57 in Seattle, Washington announced today that Wings Over Washington, a new “flying theater,” will be ready for excursions next week in a new press release. Wings Over Washington is a new state-of-the-art Disney-like ride similar to the “Soarin’” attractions found at Disney’s California Adventure and Epcot theme parks. It is the newest addition to Miners Landing since the opening of Seattle’s Great Wheel. The theater uses 6K cameras, art laser projection and surround sound system. It even uses drones for image capture and makes good use of Mushroom VR, which according to its website, “brings together media with 3D architectural spaces, practical scenic elements, and live show effects.” Excited for the new ride from @Super78Studios at @MinersLanding August 25! pic.twitter.com/aHhuGeacyb — Ryan Coaster (@RyanCoaster) August 9, 2016 “Once you are strapped into your theater seat, you will experience an amazing journey as a “spirit eagle” swepts you upward into flight across the state of Washington,” says the Wings Over Washington” website. “You will see amazing sights as you dive down the seaside cliffs through the morning mists of the Olympic National Forest and Mt. Rainier to the San Juan Islands and on to the spectacular beauty of the Cascades and the awe-inspiring Snoqualmie Falls to the wild whitewater of the Tieton River and the kaleidoscopic wonder of the Walla Walla Valley Balloon Stampede then back to Elliot Bay to bank around the Seattle Great Wheel as a sensational fireworks display begins and then slowly landing back to where the journey all began.” Kyle Griffith has overseen the Wings Over Washington project from the initial concept and has worked with some of Washington’s best including Brent Young (producer), Antonio Di lorio (music composer), David Sabee (orchestra conductor), Northwest Sinfonia and the Native American vocal and percussion group, Sacred Water Canoe Family. He has even created a companion book as well that features photos from many of the scenes highlighted in the movie. “We are thrilled to offer both tourists and residents an unforgettable experience to the many wonders of our great state. This ranges from not only a scenic perspective but an historical, cultural, and educational one as well. We also want to thank the incredible artists, craftsman, technology gurus, and expert construction teams who made our dream into a reality,” says Griffith. Including the pre-show, Wings Over Washington is almost a full 20-minute presentation done in a truly unique way. “Flying theaters” are rare. In addition to the Disney theme parks, similar rides are currently being presented in Vancouver B.C. and Europe. Wings Over Washington’s maiden voyage for the public will be shown on Thursday, August 25 at 8:00 p.m. at Miners Landing. Located on Pier 57 in Seattle, Miner’s Landing was originally a shipping terminal and then used as a fish processing spot before being purchased by the Port of Seattle. In the early 1980’s, the Griffith family took ownership of the pier which has gone through numerous changes over the years. Miners landing???? by: https://t.co/24SJzeF2Q5 #photography #seattle #nice #quality pic.twitter.com/kDXeSRKZvL — Photography Jobs (@photojobsonline) August 2, 2016 Seattle’s Great Wheel was added to Miner’s Landing on June 29, 2012. Kyle’s father, Hal, had dreamed of having a ferris wheel built in Seattle for some 30 years before it became a reality. Built in less than a year, the Great Wheel is the largest observation wheel on the west coast and stands 175 feet tall. The 42 gondolas can hold over 300 people. All of them are enclosed by #42 is the most special. The VIP cabin features leather bucket seats, a stereo system and a glass bottom floor. Miner’s Landing also includes two restaurants; the Crab Pot and The Fishersmans Restaurant and Bar. [Photo courtesy of Wings Over Washington]

The 'Pawn Stars' Tour: Go Backstage, Possibly Meet Chumlee And Tour Other Realty Show Businesses

Fans of television shows like Pawn Stars, Counting Cars, Restoration Garage and Tanked are in for a treat. Next time they visit Las Vegas, they can go on an exclusive guided tour of all four shops where the shows were filmed, as well as The Toy Shack and Ultimate Sports Cards & Memorabilia, where two Pawn Stars experts have their shops. What should you expect on the Pawn Stars tour? Will you meet Chumlee? @RealTroyBrown80 at ultimate sports cards and memorabilia in Las Vegas pic.twitter.com/R6jV1BK5up — keith korin (@keithkorin) August 8, 2015 This tour information, posted on the website of the Pawn Stars pawn shop blog shares the details of the entire tour. The tour is in an air-conditioned vehicle, with a personal driver who gives commentary as they take passengers on the six-stop tour of reality show heaven. The first stop on this exclusive tour is the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn shop where Pawn Stars is actually filmed. This is the infamous Vegas pawn shop that Rick Harrison, his father Richard “Old Man” Harrison and son Corey Harrison own, work and film Pawn Stars. Along for the realty show ride is Corey’s affable childhood friend Chumlee, whose real name is Austin Lee Russell. This quartet are the kings of the History Channel, entertaining fans for years with encounters with customers bringing in historical treasures interspersed with Chumlee’s crazy antics. Never miss an episode! Set your #PawnStars reminder now. https://t.co/GXtmKztuwG pic.twitter.com/wV1UzrFiNH — Pawn Stars (@pawnstars) November 23, 2016 This special tour promises visitors inside the pawn shop not only a chance to get up close to a Super Bowl ring and Willie Mayes jersey, but also view silver coins imprinted with the images of all of the Pawn Stars cast images. Busted! The Old Man came in early today to grab a donut from @PawnDonutCoffee @pawnplaza & wouldn't share! pic.twitter.com/F692BoGrqX — Rick Harrison (@GoldSilverPawn) October 23, 2015 So, will you get the chance to meet Chumlee, Rick, Corey or even the “Old Man”? There is no promise of a meet and greet with these popular History Channel stars due to their unpredictable filming schedule. Yet, if they are available, it appears that the tour is the easiest way to get a glimpse of this Vegas landmark without waiting in line or paying a fee. Smoky goodness is right down the street. Rick's Rollin' Smoke BBQ at @pawnplaza offers BBQ classics & a patio. #DTLV pic.twitter.com/OctvaqrT5y — Juhl Las Vegas (@JuhlLV) April 26, 2016 This itinerary description also mentions a possible stop next door to Pawn Plaza, where Rick Harrison’s Roll ‘n Smoke BBQ & Tavern is located. Could this possibly mean there is a slice of time to savor some delectable BBQ and wash it down with a beer or soft drink? SEMA 2015 Feature-Danny Koker's Custom 1973 Riviera – Coker Tire Blog https://t.co/ASNr2tysoJ pic.twitter.com/kDSmUgBOlv — Royboy Productions (@royboyprods) December 1, 2015 Second stop on this special tour is Count’s Kustoms, home of Counting Cars, the Pawn Stars History Channel spinoff show starring Danny Koker and his team of car restoration specialists. Car aficionados will appreciate a tour of Danny Koker’s personal and extensive car collection. Fans of the show know that Danny cannot resist holding onto any spectacular showpiece that he finds and customizes. Included in this tour is his spectacular European Lamborghini Countach, a GT 350 Fastback, a classic 81 Corvette and his unique Cadillac Hearse Limo as well as other unbelievable vintage vehicles that every gearhead will appreciate. Blown away with Danny The Count Koker's car collection #vegas pic.twitter.com/PrgByvPC7c — Steve D (@delta88man) October 11, 2015 Next is Rick’s Restorations. Rick Dale, his wife Kelly and sons Tyler and Brettly all starred for six seasons on History Channel’s American Restoration. Guests on the tour can see the very workshop where Rick and his experienced team work their craft and magically restore a cornucopia of old finds and refinish them back to their original glory. My mother got this Murray Flat Nose 1959 Ford petal car restored at Rick's Restorations for my 2 year old nephew <3 pic.twitter.com/aopV6ggefS — SockPuppetLion (@milkchocolat645) December 29, 2014 Last season, the History Channel decided to go another direction, forgoing Rick and crew. Instead, they went with a variety of mainly car restorers, which has altered the direction of the show which used to feature the retro restorations that metal artist and restoration expert Dale is famous for. As the shop is closed on Saturdays, so on that day only, this particular stop is replaced with Welder Up, a “non-traditional” car restoration shop that is currently featured on the Discovery Channel show Vegas. It was really great to meet Rick Dale from Rick s Restorations pic.twitter.com/NGw2OC0RrG — Adam Argus (@AdamKISSfan) July 12, 2016 The next two spots are special for collectors and fans of Pawn Stars. Show experts Johnny Jimenez and Jeremy Brown frequently appear on Pawn Stars to advise Rick, Chumlee or Corey to determine the value of items customers bring in to pawn. The Toy Shack, owned by Jimenez is included on this tour. Sure to wow fans of vintage Hot Wheels and Transformers, fans of other vintage toys will be thrilled to uncover toys from their childhood. Ultimate Sports Cards & Memorabilia is home to Brown, whose store has an enviable and endless collection of cards, jerseys and other authentic sports memorabilia. Both stops will appeal to both fans of the show as well as toy and sports collectors. You can find @pawnstars Toy Expert at the Toy Shack inside Neonopolis corner of Las Vegas Blvd and @FREMONTSTREETLV pic.twitter.com/CQITjnWsZZ — FREMONT STREET (@FREMONTSTREETLV) November 15, 2016 Last, is ATM, Acrylic Tank Manufacturing, home of Animal Planet’s popular show Tanked. This is where Wayde King and Brett Raymer, the infamous brothers-in-law of the show, create unique aquariums for their exclusive clientele. The 37,000 square foot space promises tourists an exclusive view of the facilities, their projects and some pretty incredible exotic fish. Wow! Tonight on Tanked SHAQ is BACK! 10PM ON ANIMAL PLANET.#SHAQ #tanked#atm pic.twitter.com/P5axMrVY8s — Brett Raymer (@BrettRaymer) November 20, 2015 Again, the tour disclaimer does claim that there is no promise of meeting and greeting the reality stars at their individual businesses. Film and personal schedules could interfere with any sort of meet and greet opportunities. Yet, those taking the tour are guaranteed a unique and seamless tour, visiting some real iconic reality show venues. The four and a half hour tour begins every afternoon, except Sunday, at 1 p.m. and then ends approximately at 5:30 p.m. when guests then commence their trip back to one of the hotel pick up and drop off sites. Those spots are at one of three hotels, including the Tropicana, Treasure Island and Circus Circus hotels. The cost is $70 per person. Bottled water is included in the price, but gratuities are not. There is a moderate amount of walking and infants are not recommended for this tour. Danny "The Count" Koker of Count's Kustoms in Vegas revs up a stunningly "patriotic" Vette. "Fits me like a glove!" pic.twitter.com/K20x7Sj2pE — @Z_PopparaZ (@TommySzamosi) September 21, 2016 If you are planning a trip to Las Vegas, would you consider taking the Pawn Stars tour? Which shop are you most interested in visiting? [Featured Image by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Scleroderma Research Foundation]