By Dawn Gibbons
Since the beginning of time, holidays have played an important role in American life. The Fourth of July is an example of a holiday that Americans enjoy celebrating in a variety of ways. Las Vegas is home to a number of options and activities on this special day. Las Vegan, Meaghan Miller, spends her Fourth of July at the beautiful Red Rock Hotel, hanging out with her friends, listening to music, and watching the fireworks. Her younger sister, Ashley, likes lounging by the pool at the Golden Nugget Hotel and delving down the three story waterslide, which passes through a shark tank. Lance Early has lived here for almost five years and his favorite Fourth of July tradition is the Boulder City Fireworks show. Like Lance, Fran Goldberg raves that “the Boulder City Fireworks are nothing less than spectacular.” Others prefer the grand light show at Station Casinos annual Fourth of July Blast. Many ‘long-timers’ choose to watch the fireworks on the grassy knoll of the Las Vegas Country Club Golf Course, gathering with members of their family. Amazingly, amongst them are families that extend over three and four generations of proud Nevadans.
Some folks like to head out to Moapa Valley to choose from a wide range of fireworks to create their own light display. A little advice here: be mindful of federal laws! In other words, don’t light your fireworks on federal land because it is illegal to have fireworks on federal property, which includes all parks and recreational areas such as Lake Mead, Mount Charleston, Spring Mountains and Red Rock- even if it is America’s birthday. There is extreme danger of fire in the parklands and people caught using fireworks can face an extremely stiff penalty. And, well, a lock-up, or any unfriendly encounter with the FEDS is really not a fun way to celebrate our nation’s holiday.
While thousands of tourists flock to Las Vegas on the Fourth of July and other holidays, Las Vegas poet, cowboy, and lawyer, Al Marquis, heads out of town with his wife, Joanie. They travel to Kingston Ranch in Sandy Valley where they enjoy participating in Sandy Valley’s Fourth of July parade. Sometimes, Al chauffeurs Sandy Valley’s Grand Marshal in his 1978 red Cadillac convertible amidst horseback riders and antique automobiles. One year, Al decided to fly his airplane over the parade route... let’s just say that did not go over well with the town folks. (Al’s plane spooked their horses).
Bareback riding, swimming, pickle ball, volleyball, horseshoe, pool, and swinging from trees are all laid back ways the Marquis’s celebrate their Fourth of July away from the city’s flashy fireworks. Loud noises frighten Charlie, their white lab, and Charlie is a pretty important member of the family and even, the community. He is the recipient of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation’s 2013 Community Angel Award. Charlie brings smiles to the faces of kids with cancer, helping in his own way. As such, the Marquis Clan and Charlie prefer watching the Las Vegas Fireworks on television enjoying the peace, quiet, and serenity of country life without their extravagant plane.
Personally, my idea of celebrating Fourth of July is sitting out in the glowing, warm Las Vegas sun and barbecuing with my loved ones. My “Fourth favorites” include hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, tofu dogs (yes, that is a real thing) and sharing ice cold, crunchy watermelon. Las Vegas offers so many ways to celebrate our nation’s birthday, so, celebrate however you like. Have a Happy Fourth of July!